An Update on Voting By Mail in the General Election

An abbreviated version of this article originally appeared in the June 2020 newsletter, Re:Union.
This is the complete version of that article.

To read or download a copy of the June issue of Re:Union, please click here.

First, if you’re not yet registered to vote, register online at http://bit.ly/668register by October 19, 2020, to be eligible to vote in the November election.

We strongly encourage everyone to participate in Pennsylvania’s vote-by-mail program. You may have read about the difficulties many different counties faced during the primary season back in May and June. These challenges were somewhat anticipated, as county elections officials expected a gradual ramp-up of requested ballots, but not the avalanche of requests they received due to the pandemic.

With health experts continuing to indicate that a coronavirus vaccine is not expected until the first few months of 2021 (at the earliest), we encourage you to vote safely by mail. If you have not done so already:

  1. Visit www.votespa.com (where you can register to vote or apply for an absentee ballot).
  2. Apply for a mail-in ballot. All you need is your Driver’s License or State ID number. You must apply by 5:00 pm on October 27, 2020, but don’t wait that long. We’re recommending members apply for their mail-in ballots before the end of September so everyone can receive and complete ballots before the end of October.
  3. We strongly encourage you to mail your ballot back at least a couple of weeks in advance of Election Day to ensure your voice is counted. However, if you don’t mail it back in time, please note your completed mail-in ballot must be received in your county election office by 8:00 PM on Election Day, November 3, 2020. 
  4. A couple things to note:
    1. Act 12 of 2020 allowed county elections boards to consolidate polling places, as well as set up ballot drop boxes and drop-off locations, for the primary election only, given the coronavirus pandemic. It’s possible that similar legislation may be considered depending on public health conditions in the Fall. We will keep you informed if a similar consolidation of polling places may take place for the General Election. 
    2. If you don’t receive your ballot or if it is lost, damaged or destroyed, you can vote in person at your polling place on election day using a provisional ballot.

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