Voters wait in line to cast their ballots in the 2016 presidential election in Mount Pleasant Township, Adams County. (Shutterstock/Bill Dowling) A Line of Voters in Mount Pleasant Township 2016
Voters wait in line to cast their ballots in the 2016 presidential election in Mount Pleasant Township, Adams County. (Shutterstock/Bill Dowling)

The Keystone’s troubleshooting guide for Election Day.

Officials across Pennsylvania are working to make sure everyone who is eligible to vote gets a chance this year. 

With all of the changes addressing the coronavirus pandemic, voting can be confusing.

Let’s look at what you need to know about voting this year.

Can I Register to Vote on Election Day in Pennsylvania?

No. You have to register to vote by 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 19.

Pennsylvania allows you to register in several ways: You can register online, through the mail, in person at your county’s election office, at Pennsylvania Department of Transportation offices, and at a few other official state offices.

If I Am Voting By Mail, Where Do I Take My Ballot?

If you’re mailing in your ballot, you can vote at your kitchen table and mail it in.

Or you can drop it off at your county elections office. Some counties have designated drop boxes or satellite elections offices, and you can drop off your mail-in ballot there. Only you may drop off your mail-in ballot at any of these locations; a friend or relative is not permitted to do it for you.

What Do I Do if I Requested a Mail-in or Absentee Ballot, But Decided I Want to Vote in Person?

You bring both your mail-in or absentee ballot and the outer return envelope to your polling place. A poll worker will invalidate the ballot. And you will be able to vote there.

How Do I Know Where to Vote in Person?

When you registered to vote, you should have received a voter registration card that tells the location of your polling place. If you have misplaced the card or you are not sure if the location has changed, you can use the Department of State’s nifty little webpage to find your voting place. 

What Do I Need to Bring With Me?

If it is your first time voting at a precinct, you need to bring ID.

Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • Driver’s license
  • Military ID
  • Voter registration card
  • Passport
  • Firearm permit
  • Current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government check
  • Any form of government ID

You should also wear a mask. Do your part to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

What If I Received a Mail-in Ballot and Don’t Remember Applying for One?

According to the Department of State, it is likely that you applied for annual ballots during the primary.

My Name Isn’t on the Voter Roll at My Polling Place. What Do I Do?

As long as you’re a registered voter, you will be able to cast a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot will allow local election officials to record your vote while county election officials determine if you are eligible to vote. The county is expected to make a decision within seven days.

If you are eligible, the vote will be counted.

To avoid this problem, make sure to double-check your voter registration status before Election Day. 

What Do I Do if a Poll Worker Asks for My ID and I Don’t Have It With Me?

If it is your first time voting at a polling place, you must have your ID to vote. Once you’ve voted at that place, you don’t need to present your ID again.

What Do I Do if a Poll Watcher Challenges My Eligibility to Vote?

A poll watcher can challenge a voter’s eligibility only on the basis of identity or residency.

If the basis for the poll watcher’s challenge is one of those things, you can bring another voter from the same precinct to vouch for your identity and residence. That supporting voter will sign an affidavit. The judge of elections then must let you vote.

If you can’t find a supporting voter, you will have to vote by provisional ballot.

What Do I Do if Someone Attempts to Hand Me Campaign Literature or Talk to Me about the Election Inside the Polling Place?

People inside the polling place are not allowed to hand you campaign literature or talk to you about the election. Politely decline, and then tell the Judge of Elections and your county’s district attorney.

People who are standing outside the polling place—at least 10 feet away—are allowed to hand out campaign literature or talk to you about the election, and it is up to you to decide if you want to answer.

What Do I Do if Someone Inside the Polling Place Asks Who I’m Voting For?

People inside the polling place are not allowed to ask who you’re voting for. Politely decline, and then tell the Judge of Elections and your county’s district attorney.

People who are standing outside the polling place—at least 10 feet away—are allowed to ask, and it is up to you to decide if you want to answer.

What is Considered Voter Intimidation?

Though the state Department of State doesn’t have a comprehensive list of intimidation activities, here are some:

  • Blocking the entrance to a polling place
  • Confronting, hovering, or directly speaking to or questioning voters
  • Asking voters for documentation
  • Photographing or videotaping voters to intimidate them
  • Disseminating false or misleading election information
  • Disrupting voting lines inside or outside a polling place
  • Brandishing weapons
  • Telling someone they have to support a certain candidate

What Do I Do if I See or Experience Voter Intimidation?

Department of State officials say you should contact the county board of elections and the county district attorney. 

What Do I Do if a Poll Worker Says I Cannot Vote With a Regular Ballot?

You can ask for a provisional ballot.

What Happens if I’m Still in Line and It’s 8 p.m. on Election Day?

Stay in line. You still get to vote.

Courier Newsroom Contributing Writer Laura Grant contributed to this report.