YOUR VOTING RIGHTS

Fair and honest elections are the foundations of our republic, and everyone must take responsibility for helping to ensure the integrity of the process. Know your voting rights!

Can my right to vote be challenged? Yes, but only for certain reasons and by certain people. An election official, poll watcher, or other voter may only challenge a voter on the grounds that the voter does not live in the precinct or the voter is not the person the voter says he or she is. The voter may still vote normally by signing a challenge affidavit and producing a witness to vouch for him or her.

What if someone tries to intimidate or harass me?  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, call the Chester County Board of Elections at 610-344-6410. 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). Call the Election Protection Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) if you need assistance.

Who is allowed in a polling place? Precinct election officials, clerks, machine inspectors, watchers, no more than 10 persons in the process of voting, persons lawfully giving assistance to voters, and police officers in the act of voting or who have been called to the polling place to preserve the peace, are allowed inside or within 10 feet of the polling place while voting is in progress. Everyone else, including individuals handing out campaign literature, must remain at least 10 feet away.

What if I’m not on the voter list?  First ask the election official to check the list again or to look at the supplement list, which is a list of recent changes to the voting rolls. Offer to spell your name. The local officials at your poll should then call the County Board of Elections to determine if you are registered. If you are, you should be able to vote normally.

If an election official tells you that you are at the wrong polling place, ask for help finding the right polling place. You can also call the Chester County Board of Elections at 610-344-6410 or look up your polling place at VOTESPA.COM. If you believe you’re at the right polling place but your name isn’t on the voter list, ask for a provisional ballot.

What is a provisional ballot? A provisional ballot is used to record your vote when there’s a question about your eligibility. It will only be counted if election official determine after the election that you were eligible to vote. You should use a provisional ballot only if there is no other way for you to vote.

Do I need any form of ID to vote?Only voters who are voting for the first time in their election district or precinct need to show ID. Acceptable ID includes both photo and non-photo ID. Non-photo ID must have your address on it. Acceptable IDs for first voters include:

  • 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’m in the wrong precinct? If you are registered but in the wrong precinct, you should go to the correct precinct.

What if the County Board of Election cannot find my name?If you believe you were registered and omitted from the poll book, you may vote a provisional ballot.

Can someone assist me a 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, disable, 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 also have the right to refuse assistance.

What if I’m in line when the polls close? Polling places will be open from 7 am – 8 pm. You have the right to vote if you’re in line when the polls close.

REPORT ELECTION COMPLAINTS IMMEDIATELY

Fair and honest elections are the foundations of our republic, and everyone must take responsibility for helping to ensure the integrity of the process.

We encourage voters who have any issues at the polls or may be aware of election fraud or irregularities in Pennsylvania to report them via the Department of State’s election complaint form  or by calling 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or call the Chester County Board of Election at 610-344-6410.

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