Election Day is right around the corner- do you know exactly HOW to vote?

24 October 2023- Election season is upon us and that means Election Day is extremely close. As a reminder, Pennsylvanians can apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot for the upcoming Municipal Election until Tuesday, Oct. 31. Ensuring that our elections are conducted freely, fairly, and securely – and that every eligible voter can make their voice heard – are top priorities of the Shapiro Administration.

“Voting by mail is a safe, secure, and convenient way for Pennsylvanians to make their voices heard this election,” Schmidt said. “Voters also have the option, until 5 p.m. Oct. 31, to apply for a mail-in ballot in person at their county election office and then cast that ballot all in one visit, ensuring their ballot is received.”

Pennsylvania voters can choose from two vote-by-mail options: no-excuse mail-in ballot or absentee ballot. 

Mail-in ballots 

Any registered Pennsylvania voter can request a no-excuse mail-in ballot. Voters can apply for their ballot online or download and print an application from the Department of State’s website, vote.pa.gov.  

To date, 900,132 voters have applied for mail-in ballots ahead of the Nov. 7 municipal election, Schmidt said. 

Absentee ballots 

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 can apply for an absentee ballot online.  

So far, 71,161 voters have applied for absentee ballots ahead of the Nov. 7 municipal election, Schmidt said. 

Mail ballot applications must be received by a voter’s county elections board by 5 p.m. Oct. 31. 

Upon receiving their mail ballot, voters should: 

  • Fill out the ballot by following the instructions on how to mark selections. 
  • Seal the ballot in the inner secrecy envelope marked “official ballot.” Do not make any stray marks on the envelope. 
  • Then seal the inner secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed outer return envelope.  
  • Sign and write the current date on the voter’s declaration on the outer return envelope. 

Under Pennsylvania law, voters are allowed to mail or hand-deliver only their own ballot to their county board of elections. The only exceptions to this rule are for voters with a disability who designate someone in writing to deliver their ballot and for voters who need an emergency absentee ballot.

Voters who received an absentee or mail-in ballot may vote in person on Election Day if they bring their unvoted mail ballot and outer envelope with them to be voided. After they surrender their ballot material and sign a declaration, they can then vote a regular ballot.

Voters who requested a mail ballot and did not receive it or do not have it to surrender may vote by provisional ballot at their polling place. The provisional ballot will be reviewed by the county board of elections after Election Day to determine whether it can be counted.

What Time Do the Polls Open and Close?

Polls in Franklin County and other counties will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.  Registered voters who are in line at 8:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote. 

Where do I go to Vote?

There are seventy-three (73) polling places in Franklin County and you need to go to the polling place assigned to you based on your residence address.  Check your registration card for the polling place location or log onto the SURE Public Portal at www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us.  This website will also provide directions from your home to your polling place.

Whom do I vote for?

Registered voters will be voting for the following offices:  Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge of the Superior Court, Judge of the Commonwealth Court, County Commissioner, Clerk of Courts, Controller, Coroner, District Attorney, Prothonotary, Register and Recorder, Sheriff, Magisterial District Judges #39-2-01, #39-3-02, #39-3-05 and #39-3-06, School Directors, Township Supervisors, Auditors and Councilpersons.  There are also a few Tax Collectors and Mayors on the ballot in some municipalities due to vacancies. The Official Retention Election Ballot will be on the back of the Official Ballot and will include retention questions for two Judges of the Superior Court and one Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in the 39th Judicial District.

What do I Need to take with me to the Polling Place?

If you are voting in an election district for the first time, you will need an approved form of identification, either photo or non-photo.  No other voter will be asked to present an ID.

Are Candidates allowed to Pass Out/Display Campaign Literature at the Polling Place?

The Election Code states that those individuals or candidates that are campaigning must remain at least ten (10) feet distant from the entrance of the polling place during the progress of the voting.

Am I allowed to display or wear any type of attire with a candidate’s name on it into the polls?

The Franklin County Election Board reminds all voters that NO electioneering is allowed within the polling place.  This includes the display of candidate names on buttons, signs, or clothing within the polling place as well as items advocating a political party, etc.  Voters will be asked to remove the item or to cover it up before receiving a ballot. 

Who do I Contact with  Questions regarding voting or the election day process?

All voter registration questions should be directed to the Franklin County Voter Registration Office at (717) 261-3886.  All election related questions should be directed to the Franklin County Election Board at (717) 261-3810.

What type of voting system do we use in Franklin County?

For information on voting in Franklin County, you may watch an online demo and/or instructional video on voting a digital scan ballot using a DS200 Precinct Counter at the following website – www.votespa.com (Voting & Elections; Types of Voting; In Person).  We also have an assistive marking device for the blind or visually impaired in each polling place that is called an ExpressVote and a demo of this machine can be viewed at this website as well.