STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO VOTING BY MAIL IN EASTTOWN
Any qualified voter in Easttown Township can request a “no-excuse” mail-in ballot. Voting by mail is a safe, secure, and flexible way to ensure that your voice is counted and your voice is heard in this crucial election. If you will be unable, or prefer not to vote in person at the voting booth, you may easily vote with a no-excuse required Mail-In Ballot. Voters who are often traveling, have medical conditions, or find that getting to the voting booth on Election Day is difficult due to child care or work conflicts, should consider signing up for the convenience of mail-in balloting. This year, due to Covid, we are recommending that everyone vote by mail. Due to potential legal challenges and/or last minute rule changes by the PA legislature, keep checking this page for any updates on voting by mail.
CHECK YOUR REGISTRATION STATUS – All registered voters in Pennsylvania may apply to vote by mail. To make sure you’re registered, visit the official PA website and confirm that you are registered.
APPLY FOR YOUR MAIL-IN BALLOT – Visit VotesPa.com/ApplyMailBallot to fill out an application. Mail-In Ballots must be requested by 5PM, October 27th, a week before the election. Due to possible processing and mail delays, you should request mail-in ballots as soon as possible.
FILL OUT YOUR BALLOT – When you receive your ballot, follow the instructions to complete, sign, and seal your ballot. BE SURE TO SIGN YOUR BALLOT IN THE SPECIFIED LOCATION OR ELSE YOUR BALLOT WILL BE REJECTED. We urge you to complete your mail-in ballot as soon as you receive it.
RETURN YOUR BALLOT TO A DROPBOX OR BY MAIL – Voters in Chester County have two options: drop off a mail-in ballot at one of several secure dropboxes (locations to be announced) or by mail. If you will be mailing your ballot, be sure to mail it by October 20th to avoid any possible delays due to expected large mailing volumes. All ballots must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, November 3rd, and received by Voter Services no later than November 6th.
CHECK YOUR BALLOT STATUS – Check PA Voter Services to track your mail-in application and ballot to be sure it is counted. Note: If you see the word “Pending”, it means they have received your application but have not yet mailed your ballot.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. I voted in the primary via mail and I want to vote in the general election in person. Can I do this?
A. Yes, if you did NOT sign-up as a permanent mail voter in the primary. Then you would need to vote in person unless you request another mail-in ballot.
Q. I did sign-up as a permanent mail-in voter in the primary. I intend to do so but what if I am uncertain near the date of the election? Can I vote in person instead?
A. Yes! As a matter of fact, you can bring your mail in ballot with you to the polling place. They will destroy that ballot and allow you to vote in person. This is NOT a provisional vote. Your vote would be provisional if you show up to vote in person without your mail in ballot AND you are listed as a mail in voter. You will be allowed to vote but your vote would be checked to ensure that you did not vote twice.
Q. Will my mail in vote count if it is postmarked on November 3rd but received later?
A. NO, NO, NO! All ballots must be received by 8 PM on November 3rd. Period. End of story. No exceptions. No matter how many times people are told, there will always be some who mail in their ballot on November 3rd and then will be outraged that their vote will NOT count.
Q. When will we start receiving ballots by mail?
A. Many voters who already signed up for vote by mail should start receiving their ballots by the end of September. We recommend filling out your ballot and returning it the DAY YOU RECEIVE IT. Don’t delay. The sooner it gets back to Chester County Voter Services the better. You can track the status of your ballot by clicking here.
Q. If I receive a mail-in ballot but decide I would rather vote in person, may I?
A. Yes, you may change your mind and vote in person. However, you’ll need to bring everything you received with your mail-in ballot to your voting location which includes the entire contents of the mail-in ballot envelope. Be sure to bring the outer envelope, the secrecy envelope, and the return envelope. If you are missing anything, then you will have to fill out a provisional ballot at the voting booth.
Q. If I vote by absentee ballot, can I change my mind and then vote in-person at the voting booth on Election Day?
A. No. After election officials have received your absentee or mail-in ballot, you’re not allowed to vote in person. (The law distinguishes between “absentee” and “mail-in” ballots, but they are functionally the same thing, and we’ll use the two terms interchangeably here.)
Q. What if I requested an absentee ballot but didn’t vote?
A. You can still show up at the polls, but you will have to vote using a “provisional ballot” instead of a normal ballot. Because voters have until 8PM on Election Day to turn in their mail-in ballots in to county elections officials, poll workers will let you vote, but your provisional ballot will be set aside and only counted if officials later determine that you didn’t in fact vote by mail.
Q. Can poll workers void my absentee ballot at my request on Election Day?
A. In the past, absentee voters who showed up at the polls were allowed to vote in person, and election workers would simply void their mail-in ballots. Now, that is not permitted or possible because the voter’s mailed absentee ballot will be at the county election office and not at the voter’s polling place.
Q. Should I apply for a mail-in ballot or absentee ballot?
A. This is the first year that all Pennsylvania voters are eligible for a mail-in ballot. Technically, “absentee ballot” requirements are the same as before – basically, you have to be unable to vote in person on Election Day. But everyone else is now eligible for a “mail-in ballot” that requires no justification. The distinction is a bit confusing. Basically, if you can vote in person but would prefer to vote by mail, request a “Mail-In” ballot.
Q. Is voting by mail secure?
A. Yes. Ignore the many widely circulated concerns or wild claims made by Trump surrounding mail-in voting fraud which are not grounded in fact. In Pennsylvania, ballot scanners verify that the ballot is printed on special ballot stock, ballot envelopes have a unique barcode that allows election officials to detect counterfeit ballots, and your signature on the envelope has to match your signature in the state voter database. A bigger threat to the safety of casting your ballot by mail is that delays involving the US Postal Service could prevent receiving or returning a ballot in time. This is why we strongly recommend requesting your ballots as soon as possible and be sure to quickly return them.
Q. Will the counting of mail-in ballots cause a delay in the final election results?
A. With changes to the election rules, it’s not clear when results will be finalized and available to the public. County elections staff cannot start counting the absentee and mail-in ballots until after the polls close at 8 p.m. on election day. They have up to three days to do so. No one knows at this point how many voters will choose using mail-in ballots.
Q. Who can I contact if I have questions?
A. You may visit, call, mail or email: Chester County Government Voter Services, 601 Westtown Road, Suite 150, PO Box 2747, West Chester, PA 19380-0990.
Call 610-344-6410 or email to email@example.com
Q. Why are some mail-in ballots not counted?
A. The number one reason for a ballot not being counted is due to a voter forgetting to sign the ballot properly. After you mark your ballot, place your ballot in the secrecy envelope and then put the secrecy envelope into the official envelope. Be sure to sign the declaration as shown in the image on the left, or your ballot may not count.
Check out the Philadelphia Inquirer 2020 Mail-In Voting Guide for answers to additional questions.
EIGHT REASONS WHY EASTTOWN VOTERS LOVE VOTE BY MAIL
Have you considered Vote By Mail (VBM)? It’s the same as an Absentee Ballot, but you don’t have to be absent from Easttown Township to vote! It comes to your home before the election.
Some people say, “I don’t feel like I’ve voted unless I go to the poll,” and “I don’t mind waiting in line and I enjoy getting out to vote.” If that’s you, please consider this:
1. During a pandemic such as COVID-19, VBM is the surest and safest way to vote.
2. VBM eliminates the percentage of people who intend to, but never get to the polls due to a bad day at work, illness, staying late at work, having to go out of town at the last minute, a death in the family, or other tragic event including drama at home.
3. You don’t ever have to wait in a long line! During some elections, particularly in presidential year elections, the lines can be long.
4. You won’t be contributing to the line that might turn others away! While you may be willing to wait in line for an extended time to vote, others are not! Shorter lines increase the percentage of votes.
5. Vote in the comfort of your home at the time of your choosing. This is a deliberative, civilized process and the way human beings ought to vote. Whether in your underwear, with a glass of wine, over dinner, or 2AM in the morning, you can vote when it’s convenient for you. Imagine this scenario:
“You get your ballot in the mail several weeks before the election. One night the following week, after dinner, you and your family gather around the dining room table. On one side, you have your ballots. On the other, you have candidate’s information, mailing, voter guides and articles from your favorite publications.
You go through the ballot vote by vote and let everyone at the table ask questions. You take your time discussing the opposing arguments, allowing the kids to ask questions, checking the candidate’s websites. When you’re done, you put your ballot in the special provided envelope and drop it in the mailbox. That’s it.
You get to do this at your leisure, not during proscribed hours. You’re not subject to the vagaries of weather or traffic and don’t have to show any ID or wait in any lines. You have plenty of time to research and mull over each vote.”
7. You’ll probably have fewer phone calls and door knocks from campaigns. Once your ballot has been returned to the Chester County Board of Elections, your name and phone number should disappear from candidates call and walk lists. You’ll like receiving fewer calls and it also benefits the campaigns as they’ll have fewer people to follow up with as they get closer to Election Day.
8. Enrollment in VBM doesn’t mean you forfeit going to the polls if you change your mind. Simply bring your VBM ballot to your precinct where they will officially void it allowing you to vote there. This is often misunderstood, but so long as you have the blank absentee ballot to hand in, you should have no problem voting! If you lost or misplace the ballot, you may be asked to sign an affidavit stating so.
So what are you waiting for? Click here to request your mail-in ballot today
P.S. When you fill out your application to vote by mail for a Spring primary, you can also sign up to automatically receive your ballot for the November general election by mail.