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Boscola Bulletin

Are you ready to vote Pennsylvania

NEW DOS Website Explaining New Voting Systems

A new website has been launched by the Pennsylvania Department of State that explains how to cast a ballot in the April 28, 2020, presidential primary.  This is necessary since the General Assembly passed Act 77 of 2019 that enacted sweeping changes to the state’s election law which included new voting machines that are designed to create a paper trail for each ballot. Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar has expressed that the website was essential to make voters feel confident and understand how to use the new voter-verifiable paper ballot voting system and the tools available to them. 

The new website, which can be viewed for Northampton County or Lehigh County, has individual pages for voters in all 67 counties that explains how to cast a ballot since voting systems vary from county to county. The page includes links to instructional videos that demonstrate how the voting system functions as well as information about accessibility features for voters with special needs. 

Coming Soon to Your Mailbox

Boscola ReportsOver the past few months, you have heard a lot about the changes that have been made to the Election Code in Pennsylvania.  Coming very soon to your homes, is a single-issue piece from my office that will outline these election reform changes in detail for you.

This new election reform secures our elections by helping to pay for new voting machines with paper trails.  It makes registering to vote easier by extending the time to register to vote to 15 days before an election from 30 days. And it makes certain more votes will be counted by changing the deadline for absentee ballots from the Friday before election until Election day. Most importantly, we made voting easier for YOU by allowing the voters on Pennsylvania the option to vote by mail – no excuses, no exclusions. 

Mail-In/Absentee Ballot Information

Pennsylvanians who are registered to vote now have several ways to vote if they choose not to go to the polls or are unable to get to the polls on election day: mail-in ballot or absentee ballot, both of which they can vote via the mail or in person at their county election office:

  • checkMail-in ballots are for registered voters who simply wish to vote by mail instead of going to their polling place on election day. They do not have to give a reason or excuse. They can apply online for a mail-in ballot, or download and print the application and mail it to their county election office. Voters can also apply for and vote the ballot in person at their county election office during business hours.
  • Absentee ballots are for registered voters who will be away from their home municipality on election day or who have a disability or illness that prevents them from going to the polls. Absentee voters must give a reason when they apply. Examples of absentee ballot voters include college students away at school, members of the military, people absent from their home municipality because of work or a vacation and people who cannot go to the polls because they are observing a religious holiday.

Both mail-in and absentee voters will receive a ballot in the mail to complete and return to their county election office by 8 p.m. on election day. The online application allows mail-in voters to request that their county election office add them to an annual mail-in voter ballot request list. Their ballot application will then be automatically mailed to them each year. ID requirements for mail-in and absentee ballots can be found at www.votespa.com.

Counties must begin processing mail-in and absentee ballot applications 50 days before the election. For the April primary, that will be March 9. As soon as the ballot is finalized, the counties will mail ballots to voters or provide them in-person at the county election office.

What’s an annual mail-in ballot request?

You now have the option to request to be added to an annual mail-in ballot request list where you’ll receive an application to renew your mail-in ballot request each year. Once your application is approved, you will automatically receive ballots for the remainder of the year, and you do not need to submit an application for each election.

Get Involved!

Poll workers neededElections in Pennsylvania don’t happen on their own – they are made possible by thousands of regular citizens, like yourself, serving as poll workers to help Election Day & the election process run as smoothly & flawlessly as possible.   

To be a poll worker, you must be registered to vote in the county where you wish to work. (Exceptions exist for 17-year-old high school students, who must meet additional requirements & would need to contact their county election officials in advance)

Poll workers generally work for the entire day on election day, from before the time the polls open at 7:00 am, until after the polls close at 8:00 pm.

Counties train poll workers on their election day duties.
All poll workers are paid for their time on election day.

  1. If you are interested in becoming a poll worker, fill out the Poll Worker Interest Form.
  2.  After you submit the form, your county's election office will contact you. 
  3.  You may reach out to the election office to follow up. You can find the contact information on the Contact Your Election Officials page. 

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Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

www.senatorboscola.com

BETHLEHEM OFFICE
One East Broad Street
Suite 120
Bethlehem, PA 18018
(610) 868-8667
Fax: (610) 861-2184
Toll-free: 1-877-535-1818
EASTON OFFICE
1701 Washington Blvd.
Easton, PA 18042
(610) 250-5627
(610) 250-5629
Fax: (610) 250-1889
HARRISBURG OFFICE
458 Main Capitol Building
Senate Box 203018
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3018
(717) 787-4236
Fax: (717) 783-1257
Senate of PA:
1-800-364-158 (TTY)