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Election Day Questions & Answers


Planning to vote in an upcoming Pennsylvania election? Here are some common questions asked by voters, along with their answers.

I've misplaced my voter registration card. Can I still vote?
Certainly! Your name will be on the voter list at your local polling place. Some polling places will require some form of photo ID, such as a Driver's License. Even if they can't find your name on the statewide voter registration list, you will be allowed to vote on what is called a provisional ballot. This paper ballot will be collected and, once your voter registration status is verified, counted in the election results.

I can't remember when I last voted - am I still registered?
If you registered sometime in or since June 1993, you are still registered, whether or not you have voted. If you registered prior to June 1993, however, and have not voted for 5 years, you may have been removed from the state registration list and will need to re-register. Call your county Board of Elections to find out your status if you are uncertain.

Where do I vote?
You must vote at the polling place assigned to the election district in which you reside and are registered to vote. It can be found listed on your voter's identification card. The easiest place to find this information if you don't have it is on the PA State Web Site - Find Your Polling Place. Local polling places are also printed in major newspapers around the area on the Tuesday before the election. Some county Web sites, such as Allegheny County, Butler County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County have the polling places listed online. You can also call your local League of Women Voters or your local municipal authority for assistance.

How do I vote?
Prior to 2006, voting systems in Pennsylvania varied greatly from county to county, and included lever voting machines, optical scan voting systems, punch card voting systems and touchscreen electronic voting systems. Beginning with the 2006 election, however, all Western Pennsylvania counties upgraded to electronic voting -- either direct record or optical scan -- in response to new federal requirements under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

I'm new to the area, how do I register to vote?
The deadline to register to vote in a primary or general election is generally 30 days prior to the election date. It is easy to register either in person or by mail. See How to Become a Registered Voter in Pennsylvania for further details.

I will be away from home or am otherwise unable to make it to the polls on election day. How do I vote?
You can call and request an absentee ballot from your county Board of Elections. The last day to apply for an absentee ballot is generally one week prior to election day, and the ballot must be returned to the County Elections office by 5:00pm on the Friday before election day.

How do I know which candidates I will be voting for?
The first thing you need to do is to determine which ward and district you live in. Complete information on all candidates is available about one month prior to the primary or general election in the Election Guide - League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh. A great Web site called SmartVoter.org allows you to type in your street address and zip code and pull up a sample ballot, including local contests.

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