Deadline nears for mail-in ballots

HARRISBURG — Those who wish to vote by mail for the Nov. 2 election have until Oct. 26 to apply for a mail-in ballot.

Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid this week urged Pennsylvanians interested in using vote by mail to apply soon and return their ballot quickly to ensure it is counted.

“Apply online today so your county election office can send you your mail ballot in time for you to fill it out and return it by the Election Day deadline,” Degraffenreid said. “Voters also have the convenient option, until 5 p.m. Oct. 26, of applying for a mail ballot in person at their county election office, waiting while their eligibility is verified, and then casting their mail ballot all in one visit.”

As soon as voters receive their mail ballot, they should:

— Read the instructions carefully.

— Fill out the ballot, being sure to follow instructions on how to mark selections.

— Seal the ballot in the inner secrecy envelope that indicates “Official Election Ballot.” Be careful not to make any stray marks on the envelope.

— Seal the secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed outer return envelope.

— Complete the voter’s declaration on the outer envelope by signing and writing the current date.

— For the ballot to be counted, it must be enclosed in both envelopes and the voter must sign and date the outer envelope.

— Affix sufficient postage to the outer envelope before mailing.

Voters should return their voted ballot to their county board of elections as soon as possible. They have two options. They can:

— Mail their ballot. Mailed ballots must be received by Nov. 2, Election Day. The postmark does not count. Or,

— Hand-deliver their ballot to their county election office or officially designated satellite office or drop box site. Hand-delivered ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

At Thursday’s Clinton County Commissioners meeting, Voter Registrar Maria Boileau said the county issued about 1,600 mail-in and absentee ballots so far.

Boileau told the commissioners everything is ready for the Nov. 2 election and noted that, for those who opt for mail-in ballots, they must be returned to the Piper Building on election day by 8 p.m.

She said a ballot box is located outside of the Piper Building which is bolted to the ground and under 24-hour surveillance.

Voters also have the option of voting in person on Election Day at the polls, provided they have not already voted by mail ballot. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Voters who received an absentee or mail-in ballot may vote in person on Election Day if they bring their unvoted mail ballot and envelopes with them to be voided. After they surrender their ballot packet and sign a declaration, they can then vote a regular ballot. Voters who already voted and returned their mail ballot are not eligible to vote in person on Election Day.

Voters who requested a mail ballot and did not receive it or do not have it to surrender may vote by provisional ballot at their polling place. The provisional ballot will be reviewed by the county board of elections after Election Day to determine whether it will be counted.

On Nov. 2, Pennsylvania voters will elect judges on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, county Common Pleas Courts.

“Pennsylvanians have three secure ways to vote – by mail ballot, in person by mail ballot at their county election office, and at the polls on Election Day,” Secretary Degraffenreid said. “Choose the option that best fits your needs. But, if you are voting by mail ballot, act quickly and complete and return your mail ballot now.”

For more information on voting in Pennsylvania, visit vote.pa.gov, call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-868-3772 or follow along on social media with the hashtag #ReadyToVotePA.


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