Everything You Need to Know About Voting in Pennsylvania

I’m not here to appeal to Trump supporters. That ship has sailed, and taken with it the very fabric of our democracy.

I’m here to talk to everyone else.

Those of you who are committed to voting but panicked about how to do it. Those of you who don’t believe your vote matters. And those of you who are still debating over whether to vote for Biden or cast a vote for a third-party presidential candidate. 

For those of you who don’t believe your vote matters​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

In 2016, Trump won Pennsylvania by 44,292 votes out of 6 million. That is significantly less than the people who attended the last Taylor Swift concert in Philadelphia. Please register or check the status of your registration.   

For the third-party loyalists 

Here is something I wrote four years ago.

The pile of rubble is now burning with more gasoline poured on it every day. We saw what four years of Trump has brought us, and we now have the Supreme Court entirely on the line. Yes, we are voting for at least an entire generation of Supreme Court decisions, as well as the administration who will hold the power of environmental policy, public education, healthcare, social security, and getting control of a pandemic that has utterly destroyed the lives of millions of Americans (and ended 200,000 lives and counting).

The only way to reverse this damage is with a vote for Biden, who has the ability to push forward progressive policy and hold up the voices of progressive leaders in Congress. If you want to make a statement, donate to the efforts for ranked-choice voting. Unfortunately, every lost vote for Biden is one more vote against even the potential for progress. 

For those of you confused about how to make sure your vote is counted

I hear you. I have gotten reassurance from PA county officials that mail-in ballots will be securely counted if you follow the correct procedure – and get them in ASAP.  However, depending on your location and the safety of your polling place (masks are not mandated in polling places, so it really depends on your area’s compliance), I’d still suggest voting in person if you feel like you safely can.

In Pennsylvania, even if you applied for a mail-in ballot, you CAN still vote in person at the polls. Bring your unmarked, unopened ballot with you and hand it over to poll workers to be voided. At that point, you’ll be allowed to vote on the machines.*​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

If you don’t have your ballot with you, including if it didn’t arrive on time, you can still show up to the polls and vote on a provisional ballot, which is a paper ballot that is set aside and counted once it is clear you are eligible to vote.  

*UPDATE 10/1: I’ve heard from election officials that bringing your ballot to the poll isn’t the best idea, as invalidating it requires the judge of elections and may lead to delays for others. It’s not as simple as we may have thought. It is still an option, but bringing mail-in ballots to drop boxes and early voting centers may be a better one. ​​​​​​​

Here is a map of dropboxes that covers the entire state!

If You Vote By Mail

Do you know what naked ballots are? They’re ballots that are directly placed in the mailer without the secrecy envelope. These ballots are invalid. 

1. Complete your ballot with black or blue ink. 

2. Place your ballot in the privacy envelope, seal it and then place directly into the mailer. 

3. Sign and date the return envelope’s voter declaration. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

4. Mail the postage-paid envelope or bring to your county election office or county dropboxes.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

5. Track Your Ballot

Committee of Seventy’s Pennsylvania Vote By Mail FAQ

Philly Early Voting Centers

Philadelphia: Starting TODAY, there are seven in-person early voting locations – one-stop shops for all voting-related activities.

  • Register to vote, even if you do not have a PA driver’s license or PennDOT ID
  • Update or change your voter registration
  • Request, receive, and vote a paper ballot on the spot
  • Drop off location for your mail-in ballot. (Can’t return someone else’s ballot, just your own) 

For Everyone

WORK THE POLLS: If you are healthy and able, sign up at Power The PollsThe Vote Joe app is an organizing tool that allows you to reach out to your friends in support of Joe Biden and Democrats down the ballot, and receive updates from the Biden for President Campaign and the Democratic Party.

Help Get Out the Vote By Following and Supporting These Organizations:

Turn PA Blue
Swing Left
Vote That Jawn (PHL)
Red To Blue

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