Patricia A. O'Malley

Social Policy & Programs Consulting

Training and Services for agencies working toward social and economic justice


2020 Allegheny County Primary Voting Information
The Pennsylvania Voting Reform Act made some changes.
The campaigns and the parties hide this information from the voters.

​February 26, 2020





 






























For nearly 40 years, I’ve called thousands of voters as an election campaign volunteer.  I spent most of my time hanging up on answering machines because the campaign staffers think their job is to produce phone calls.  It’s not.  Their job is to produce votes.  They don’t know the difference.

You have a right to know this stuff.  Please share it widely.

WHY THIS MATTERS
Voters ask questions about registration and voting details.  When volunteers can’t answer their questions because they don’t know, we lose votes.  A few elections ago, I wrote a guide.  The campaigns won’t use it.  They say it's not the "right font", or the "right card stock".   

Pennsylvania’s new Voting Reform Act, Act 77 of 2019, makes voting easier for everyone. 
These are the current rules.

Feel free to print this article, make as many copies as you like,

and share it with your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers.

I have a one-page summary available. 
If you want it, message me at the link below and I’ll email it to you.


PRIMARY ELECTION DAY

  • Tuesday, April 28, 2020


PRIMARY VS GENERAL ELECTIONS

  • April 28 is a Primary Election.
  • There can be several candidates from one party running against each other for the same position. 
  • In a PRIMARY election, the voters of each party to choose their candidates, who will run against the other party’s candidates, in the November 3 general election.
  • In Pennsylvania Primary Elections, you can only vote for candidates who belong to the party in which you are registered.
  • If you’re a Democrat, you can only vote for Democrats.
  • If you’re a Republican, you can only vote for Republicans.
  • In the GENERAL election on November 3, you can vote for anyone from any party.


ALLEGHENY COUNTY ELECTION DIVISION

  • The Allegheny County Election Division manages all aspects of voting in the county.
  • Their website has a lot of information about the process, rules, deadlines, etc.
  • Contact them to apply for Absentee or Mail-in Ballots, or for voter registration forms, polling places,  questions, and complaints.

Allegheny County Elections Division          
604 County Office Building, 542 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15219
Phone: 412-350-4500     Fax: 412-350-5697 

  
VOTER REGISTRATION

  • To vote in Pennsylvania, you must:

         >  Be a U.S. citizen and a state resident for at least 30 days  before the election.

         >  Be at least 18 years old no later than Election Day.  April 29 is too late. 


  • Registration forms must be postmarked by, or IN THE ALLEGHENY COUNTY ELECTION OFFICE,
    no later than 5:00 PM, April 13, 2020.

  • Homeless people can vote.  They need an address.  They do not need a residence.
    They can use a shelter, community organization, friend, relative, or any other address with permission. 
    They vote in the district where their address is located.

  • Get voter registration forms at many government offices, state liquor stores, community organizations, and the Allegheny County Elections Division.

  •  You can register and verify your registration status online at Votes PA.


POLLING PLACES

  • Open continuously 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM – they do not close for breaks.
  • If you are in line by 8:00 PM, you will be permitted to vote. 
  • If it’s past 8:00 PM, STAY IN LINE UNTIL YOU VOTE.


ABSENTEE and MAIL-IN BALLOTS

  • Tuesday, April 21, 2020 is the last day to request an Absentee or Mail-in Ballot.
  • If you are absent or disabled, you can use an Absentee Ballot.
  • If you don’t qualify for an Absentee Ballot, anyone can use a Mail-in Ballot.
  • There are special rules for military and overseas ballots.  See the link below.
  • If you’re not sure which ballot to use, see the link below.
  • All Absentee and Mail-in Ballots must be returned to the Allegheny County Election Division no later than 8:00 PM on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.


YOUR VOTING RIGHTS

  • You have the right to vote.  As long as you’re registered, no one can prevent you from voting. 
  • No one can threaten or harass you, or force you to vote for anyone.
  • You can not be fired or evicted for voting.

  • If you are a convicted felon, you can register to vote again after you are released from prison, even if you are still on probation or parole.
  • If you are in jail, but have not yet been convicted of a crime, YOU CAN REGISTER AND VOTE. 
    Get an Absentee Ballot.

  • You can take notes, campaign materials, your cell phone, and one child into the voting booth with you, but you must take all of your stuff with you when you leave.

  • If you need help voting because you are blind, disabled, or unable to read or write, you can get help from the person of your choice, other than from your employer or union, or someone that the employer or union chooses. 
  • If you have special needs, Election Inspectors and Clerks can help you to vote.


IF THEY WON’T LET YOU VOTE

  • If the poll workers won’t let you vote, ask them for a provisional ballot. 
  • The county election division will review your situation.  If you qualify as a voter, your vote will count.
  • If you still can’t vote, call the PA Dept. of State at 877-VOTES-PA (877-868-3772)
  • Or call Election Protection, a nonpartisan organization, at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
  • Or file a complaint at the link below.


CANDIDATES

  • In this election, we are voting to choose

        >  The Democratic and Republican candidates for President of the US,
        >  Candidates for all seats in the US House of Representatives, including your local congress member,
        >  Democratic and Republican candidates for 35 US Senate seats, including that held by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
        >  Democratic and Republican candidates for Pennsylvania Auditor General, Attorney General, and Treasurer.

  • You can view sample ballots and locate the polling place for your voting district at the link below, as soon as the county posts the final ballot format.


NEW VOTING MACHINES

  • Act 77 requires the state to purchase and provide new voting machines.
  • You will receive a paper ballot.
  • Complete your ballot and then insert it into a scanning machine.
  • The machine will read, record, and tabulate your votes.
  • Don’t worry.  If you can use an ATM machine, you can use a new voting machine.
  • You can see a short video on the new machines at the link below


VOTER ID

  • You must show ID ONLY IF this is the first time you will vote at this polling place.

  • Approved forms of photo ID:  Remember, the ID must be valid and not expired.

        >  PA driver's license or ID card issued by PennDOT
        >  ID issued by any other Commonwealth agency
        >  ID issued by the U.S. Government
        >  U.S. Passport
        >  U.S. Armed Forces ID
        >  Student ID
        >  Employee ID

  • Approved forms of non-photo ID:  The ID must include the name and address of the voter.


        >  Voter's identification card issued by the voter registration commission
        >  Non-photo ID issued by the Commonwealth
        >  Non-photo ID issued by the U.S. Government
        >  Firearm permit
        >  Current utility bill
        >  Current bank statement
        >  Current paycheck or Government check

AFTER THE ELECTION

  • The county Board of Elections will post the results after they verify and certify every vote.
  • That will take about a month.
  • You can see the results at the link below.



​​People died to protect your right to vote. 
Please remember them as you cast your ballot.


FOR MORE INFORMATION
Act 77 Voting Reforms
Allegheny County Elections Division
File a Voting Complaint
All Pennsylvania Voting Information – Votes PA
Find Your Polling Place in Allegheny County
View a Sample Ballot
2020 PA Election Calendar
Absentee or Mail-in Ballot?
New Voting Machines
Election Results

Contact Pat to get email notice of all new Community Matters articles.​








UPDATE
March 28, 2020
Due to COVID-19,

Pennsylvania has moved its primary election to Tuesday, June 2, 2020.

The deadline to register to vote is now May 19.
We now have seven more weeks to register voters.

This is the voter registration link:
https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/Pages/VoterRegistrationApplication.aspx

The deadline to request absentee or mail-in ballots is now May 26.
You can request a mail-in ballot here
https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/OnlineAbsenteeApplication/#/OnlineAbsenteeBegin

Please send these links to everyone you know.
All other information remains the same.

Patricia A. O'Malley
Social Policy & Programs Consulting    ~    Community Matters
P.O. Box 97803    ~    Pittsburgh, PA  15227   ~    412-310-4886    ~    info@patomalley-consulting.com
Copyright Patricia A. O'Malley    ~    All rights reserved
Established 1993​