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What You Need To Know Before You Go To The Polls

It’s almost here – Election Day in Pennsylvania.

It is hard not to already know that, given the Keystone State’s purple-ness and the attention that our Commonwealth has received not only throughout the country, but around the world.

So now it is up to us – fair citizens of the state – to make our choice. Here’s what you need to know as you head out to your polling place.

When Do The Polls Open?
Doors open at 7 a.m. and will remain open until 8 p.m.

What Happens If I’m In Line But Haven’t Cast My Ballot at 8 p.m.
As long as a voter is in line at 8 p.m., s/he is permitted to cast the ballot. Join the line at 8:01? You are out of luck.

Outside the Polling Place
You will see a myriad of signs supporting candidates, as well as “greeters” from political parties. Often times your neighbors, these folks may hand you a sample ballot with recommended choices in case you have yet to make up your mind. You are permitted to take the sample ballot into the polling place with you. When finished, either return to the greeter or you may trash it as well.

On occasions, county election offices will hear that completed ballots are just “laying around” the polling place and that this constitutes fraud of some sort. These are those sample ballots.

Should anyone outside the polling place try to physically intimidate you or raise the verbal rhetoric re: your choice, make the judge of election aware so s/he can contact a constable or local authorities. The judge is located inside the polling location.

What Happens First?
Inside, you will first meet a check-in clerk. This involves ensuring that your name appears in the poll book and confirming that you are a registered voter. Once confirmed, you will sign the poll book and be given a paper ballot to complete.

Can I Bring My Own Pen?
Yes. But it should be a black-ink pen, if possible. Black ink is the easiest for scanning devices to read. They cannot scan ballots completed in red ink. Also, be sure to completely fill in the circle to ensure that your vote is read by the scanner.

Do I Have To Vote For a Candidate In Each Race?
No. A ballot that does not have a vote for each race is still valid and does count.

Can I Write In Another Name?
Yes. And it will be counted. But it slows down the computation process to write in “Neither One” or “Anyone Else But.”

Who Are Those People Watching?
Poll watchers are working for the political parties or candidates. They must remain in their location in the polling place and are not permitted to talk with you.

What Happens If The Scanner Is Not Working?
If the ballot scanning device is not working when you have competed voting, you are entitled to wait until it is fixed or you may place it in the machine for counting later. It will be counted.

Do I Get A Sticker?
Yes. People seem to love getting their “I Voted” sticker and wearing it proudly throughout the day.

And Now …
Follow PoliticsPA throughout the night for complete election returns. And don’t be surprised if we do not know all the winners by the time you are ready to call it a night.

2 Responses

  1. I voted by mail. Went to a drop box at the county. It was nice to do that. I still think abortion is not being picked up in the polling and is favorable for Dems. Shapiro will win with a bigger than expected margin. Mastriano will go down in history as the worst candidate for Gov in Pa and a total political incompetent. Not to take away from Shapiro because he is a very talented in politics. Shapiro vs Mastriano is like the old Meadowlark Lemon Harlem Globetrotters playing the Washington Generals or the Championship Chicago Bulls playing a “D League” team.


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    Total Voters: 112

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