Good morning, 18th District,
In less than one week, voters across this Commonwealth will make their way to the polls (or be dropping their mail ballots into boxes!) to cast their ballots and make sure their voices are heard.
In this edition of the Boscola Bulletin, I am including information that may be useful to you, or someone you may know, when voting on May 18th. Here is the voter’s guide to all the statewide races, including ballot questions, Pennsylvania voters will vote on next week.
I know primary elections don’t seem to be terribly exciting to many people, however they set the stage for who voters will see on the ballot in November. Making sure we elect strong local and state officials is imperative because they are oftentimes the ones who have the most impact on our daily lives. It is crucial that voters are aware of the importance of local elections – being aware of the process and being aware of how important your vote is by how much weight it carries in primary elections is empowering.
As always, please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns you may have regarding election day, voting, or any state-related matter by calling 610-868-8667 or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One-stop voter info available at votespa.com
At votesPA.com, citizens can:
- Confirm their voter registration status.
- Locate their polling place and get directions.
- View a demonstration video of the voting system used in each county.
- Find contact information for each county election office.
- Apply for a mail ballot until 5 p.m. today.
- File a complaint if they encounter any difficulty or questionable situation at the polling place.
On May 18, voters who are registered as Republican or Democrat will choose their parties’ nominees for seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, county Common Pleas Courts, and Philadelphia Municipal Court.
Also on the party ballots will be a wide variety of county, school board, and local seats such as mayor, city or borough council member, township commissioner or supervisor, magisterial district judges, and precinct election officials.
All registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, will be eligible to vote on four ballot questions. Three of the questions are proposed constitutional amendments, and the fourth question is a referendum on making municipal fire departments or companies with paid personnel and emergency medical services companies eligible for an existing state loan program.
How are YOU Voting on Tuesday?
VOTING BY MAIL BALLOT
Both absentee and mail-in ballots are equally safe and secure ways to cast your vote.
How do I complete my mail ballot?
Once you receive your absentee or mail-in ballot:
- Mark your ballot.
- Place your ballot in the white inner secrecy envelope labeled “official ballot.” Note: Your ballot will not be counted if it is not in the secrecy envelope.
- Put the sealed inner secrecy envelope into the pre-addressed outer return envelope where the voter must sign and seal it. Note: Be sure to sign the declaration, or your ballot may not count.
- Return your ballot to your county board of election’s office or other designated location.
How do I return my voted mail ballot?
Once you mark, seal, and sign your absentee or mail-in ballot, you can return it by:
- Hand-deliver your mail ballot to your county board of election’s office or other designated location.
- Drop it off at a designated county board of election drop box location.
Remember: you must deliver your ballot yourself, and you cannot have someone else deliver your voted ballot for you.
When is the deadline to return my voted mail ballot in the 2021 primary election?
Your voted ballot must be returned by 8:00 p.m. on May 18, 2021.
How can I track the progress of my mail ballot?
From when your county receives your mail ballot request to when they receive your voted ballot, you can track the progress of your absentee or mail-in ballot at VotesPA.com/MailBallotStatus.
If you are in an emergency situation, such as an unexpected illness or disability that prevented you from submitting your mail ballot application on time, you can request an Emergency Absentee Ballot.
Remember: If you return your voted mail-in or absentee ballot, you cannot then vote at your polling place on election day.
How do I track my mail ballot progress after returning it?
Track the progress of your mail ballot at votesPA.com/MailBallotStatus.
VOTING AT A POLLING PLACE
How do I find my polling place?
When are the polls open on Election Day?
The polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If you are in line when the polls close, you are entitled to vote.
Do I need any identification (ID) to vote?
If you have voted at your polling location before, you do not need to bring ID to vote. Only voters who are voting for the first time in their election district need to show ID. Acceptable ID includes both photo and non-photo ID.
Acceptable IDs for first-time voters:
- Driver’s license
- U.S. passport
- Military, student, or employee ID
- Voter registration card
- Firearm permit
- Current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government check
- Any ID issued by the commonwealth or federal government
Note: An ID without your photo must have your address on it.
What if I signed up to vote by mail ballot but now choose to vote at a polling place?
To vote at your polling place, you will need to bring both your mail-in or absentee ballot AND the outer return envelope to your polling place. Learn more about voting at your polling place.
What if my name isn’t in the poll book?
The local officials at your polling place should call the county board of elections to determine if you are registered. If you are, you should be able to vote. If the county cannot find your name, but you believe you are registered and omitted from the poll book, you may vote a provisional ballot.
What is a provisional ballot?
A provisional ballot is a paper ballot that is provided to voters who believe they are registered voters but whose names do not appear in the sign-in book at the polling place. If you are a first-time voter who does not provide ID at the polls on Election Day, you will be offered a provisional ballot.
Learn more about voting with a provisional ballot.
Can someone assist me at the polls?
You have the right to assistance if you cannot read or write; cannot read the names on the ballots; have difficulty understanding English; or are blind, disabled, or unable to operate the voting machine.
You may request help from a relative, friend, neighbor, or another voter. You do not need to be designated in the poll book district register as “assistance permitted” to receive this assistance. If you want assistance, you must sign an Assistance Declaration, unless the poll book already indicates “assistance permitted.” You have the right to refuse assistance.
What happens if I am intimidated at the polls?
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for any person or corporation through intimidation or coercion to induce or compel a person to vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate or on a particular political issue.
If you have experienced intimidation at the polls, you should call your District Attorney’s Office and notify your County Board of Elections.
You can also submit a complaint to the Department of State via an online web form or by calling 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).
Ballot Box Locations
In Northampton County, four boxes are available at:
- Rotunda of the Government Center, 669 Washington St. in Easton. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday. Voters can park for free in the loading-and-unloading zone on Washington Street in front of the courthouse or use the new parking lot at the intersection of Wolf Avenue and Washington Street.
- Bethlehem City Hall, 10 E. Church St., Bethlehem. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday.
- Northampton County 911 Center, 100 Gracedale Ave. in Upper Nazareth Township. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
- Northampton County Human Services building, 2801 Emrick Boulevard, Bethlehem Township.Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.
In Lehigh County, drop boxes for mail ballots will be available for residents at five select municipal buildings. These include the following locations:
- District No. 1: North Whitehall Township Building, 3256 Levans Road, Coplay. Hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.
- District No. 2: Upper Macungie Township Building, 8330 Schantz Rd., Upper Macungie. Hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.
- District No. 3: Fountain Hill Borough Building, 941 Long St., Fountain Hill. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
- District No. 4: Lehigh County Government Center, 17 South 7th St., Allentown. Hours are 24/7 at the main entrance.
- District No. 5: Emmaus Borough Office, 28 South 4th St., Emmaus. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.