When it comes to voting in this year’s election, there are a lot of things that look different than in previous years. We’ve compiled new voting rules, places, and deadlines to help you make a plan to vote this year. Here are 11 voting updates that all Pennsylvania voters need to know about:
- Two Additional Offices: This year, Chester County Voter Services will add two additional satellite offices to assist voters in obtaining their ballots and the safe and expedited return of ballots. These offices located in Chester Springs and Oxford will open on October 7.
- Henrietta Hankin Library – 215 Windgate Dr., Chester Springs, PA 19425. The Henrietta Hankin Library Satellite Election Office Hours:
- Monday – 9:30 a.m – 5:00 p.m.
- Tuesday – 9:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- Wednesday – 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Thursday – 9:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- Friday – 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Saturday – 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
- Sunday – Closed
- Oxford Public Library – 48 S. 2nd St., Oxford, PA 19363. The Oxford Public Library Satellite Election Office Hours:
- Monday – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Tuesday – 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- Wednesday – 10:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m.
- Thursday – 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- Friday – 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
- Saturday – 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
- Sunday – Closed
- This year, the county has created an election portal where you can find the latest news about voting by mail, dropping off your ballots, polling place updates, as well as the forms you’ll need to register to vote.
- Any registered voter can apply to vote by mail. Whereas, absentee ballots are for voters who plan to be out of the municipality on election day (on vacation, active military, college students) or if you have a disability or illness.
- You can check your ballot application and mailing status at PA Voter Service’s website.
- If you plan to vote straight party ticket, it will look different than prior elections. Instead of filling in one mark to vote for every candidate of a party on the ballot, you must fill in the circle next to the name of every candidate that you’d like to vote for this year. Start at the bottom and work your way up.
- Fill out your ballot in blue or black ink.
- Avoid Naked Ballots. Pennsylvania has a two-envelope system: a completed ballot goes into a “secrecy envelope” that has no identifying information, and then into a larger mailing envelope that the voter signs. Ballots must be placed in the secrecy envelope and then put the secrecy envelope into the official envelope. The state Supreme Court in Pennsylvania ordered officials to throw out “naked ballots” or mail ballots that arrive without inner “secrecy envelopes.”
- Be sure to sign the declaration, or your ballot may not count.
- You can vote early in-person. Through October 27 at 5:00 p.m., you can vote early in person at Chester County Voter Services (Chester County Government Services Center, 601 Westtown Rd, West Chester, PA 19382) or at the satellite offices by requesting a ballot, completing it, and handing it back on the spot!
- If you are not comfortable mailing in your completed ballot, there are several ballot drop-off locations throughout the county.
- All Ballot Drop Boxes will be staffed and secured while in operation. Drop boxes will be taken back to West Chester each night by employees with body cameras.
- Completed mail-in ballots can be dropped off at the Chester County Government Services Center 7 days/week, 24 hours per day.
- Ten drop boxes for ballots will be placed at public libraries beginning October 13.
- The locations include Avon Grove, Chester County (Exton), Coatesville, Downingtown, Easttown, Honey Brook, Kennett, Parkesburg, Phoenixville, and Spring City. Hours of operation: M-F 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Sat/Sun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Click here for a map.
- Each voter must drop off their own ballot.
11. Your polling place may be changed this year. Polling places are still being finalized. The final list will be posted on the County’s Election Portal, Chesco.org, Facebook, and Twitter. Please check for polling place updates before you head out to vote, bring a mask, and practice social distancing.
October 7, 2020:
Satellite offices open.
October 13, 2020:
Drop Boxes for Mail-In Ballots will open.
October 19, 2020:
The Last Day to Register to Vote
- Online by midnight
- By mailing a paper application to Chester County Voter Services by 5:00 p.m.
- In-person at Chester County Voter Services, and at PennDOT and some other government agencies
October 27, 2020:
The Last Day to Vote Early In-Person
The Last Day to Apply for Mail-In Voting
- The voter registration application has a section to request to vote by mail in the general election (and future elections). Postmarks do not apply if sending a paper application.
November 3, 2020:
- Ballots must be received in the county election office by 8:00 p.m. on election day, November 3, 2020.
- Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3. The busiest times of day to vote are in the morning and evening. If you can, try going at less busy times.
For more election information, call 610-344-6410, email email@example.com or follow Chester County Government on Facebook or Twitter.