Over the past several presidential election cycles, Common Cause Pennsylvania has led a statewide Election Protection Program here in the Commonwealth. Election Protection makes sure that every Pennsylvanian can make their voices heard even when anti-voter rules try to get in the way. Every election year, Common Cause Pennsylvania mobilizes Election Protection volunteers to help our fellow Pennsylvanians navigate the voting process and cast their votes without obstruction, confusion, or intimidation.
Common Cause Pennsylvanian and the Election Protection Program are crucial lines of defense for voters against suppression tactics, confusing laws, outdated infrastructure, and other impediments to making themselves heard. Above all, we inform voters of their rights, help elections officials handle problems in real time, and notify legal teams when the courts’ interference is needed.
How can you help?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Common Cause PA is updating our election protection program to prioritize safety for our volunteers alongside protecting our election. Here’s what that looks like:
- Be a Roving Volunteer: Election Day roving volunteers will help:
- Monitor physical polling locations from their vehicles
- Distribute yard signs (with the 866-Vote information) at polling locations
- Check on closed polling locations
- Be a Digital Volunteer: The digital volunteering program can be completed without leaving your room! Our digital volunteers will:
- Monitor social media channels for election issues, reports, news stories, and any other information.
- Report to the Common Cause team and allies to help us respond to issues in real time.
Read our Voting During COVID-19 Guide Below and Share the Info with your friends, family and neighbors. We’re all in this together.
Voting During COVID-19
Elections across America are taking place during an unprecedented time and this election day will look a little different for Pennsylvania voters too. The public safety measures will dictate how polling stations operate. There are other changes voters will see as well. With the passage of Act 77 in Pennsylvania, vote-by-mail is now an available alternative to lining up at your local polling place. Some counties will also have new voting machines at polling locations.
One thing will not change: your right to vote in a fair and free election. Common Cause Pennsylvania has assembled resources to help you navigate this election cycle. Below you can learn about new election dates, polling locations, voter registration pathways, and tips for voting during the COVID 19 outbreak.
As Americans, our right to vote is a privilege and a responsibility. The right to vote and have our voices heard is fundamental to our democracy. Our democracy is stronger when every eligible American participates, confident that when they cast a vote, that it will be counted as cast, that the process is secure, and that anyone who interferes or tampers with our elections will be held accountable.
Use our collection of voting tools for Pennsylvania to:
- Register to vote
- Check your registration status
- Vote by mail or request an absentee ballot
- Check election dates
- If you have a felony conviction, learn if you are eligible to vote
The Pennsylvania primary election will now be on June 2nd, and the general will be on November 3rd. The primary election was postponed by the Pennsylvania Legislature due to the COVID-19 outbreak and there are no changes to the general election in November.
Other dates to keep in mind are the deadlines for voter registration and vote by mail/absentee ballot requests. Voter registration applications to vote in the June 2, 2020 primary election must be completed by May 18, 2020. When registered, both vote by mail and absentee ballot applications for the primary election must be received by your county election board office by May 26, 2020 at 5pm ET.
- VotesPA vote by mail/absentee ballot application deadline [May 26, 2020]
- VotesPA voter registration deadline [May 18, 2020]
For the first time, all Pennsylvanian voters can vote by mail starting with the June 2, 2020 primary election. To apply for a mail-in ballot, go to www.votespa.com, the official Pennsylvania government website for voter registration and election information. You can apply for a ballot online or print and send off a paper ballot to your local county board of elections.
Have a question? Check out our Vote-By-Mail FAQ’s
Voting Safely at the Polls
While vote-by-mail is encouraged as the safest voting option this election cycle, we understand that voters may need or choose to vote at physical polling locations. If you are planning to or must vote in person, please make safety a priority. Continue to social distance and wear protective face masks and other necessary protective gear.
Polling locations will likely have safety measures in place, but not all polling locations will look the same. You can check with your local county board of elections to see what precautions will be taken at your polling location. To personally be prepared, you can bring your own pen to use, if necessary, for filling out any information. Bring any personal sanitizer to use while voting.
Even with safety precautions in place, Pennsylvania voters have the same rights this election as they do every election. If you are in line by 8:00PM when polls close, the polling location must allow you to vote. COVID 19 is not an excuse to deny or discriminate otherwise.
Polling Place by County
Due to COVID 19 precautions, your polling place may have been consolidated or the location may have changed. You can click here to check your polling location.
You can also check out our list of county polling locations below. We’re adding information as it comes in, so if you don’t see a link for your county yet, don’t worry. We will update regularly to make sure you have the information you need:
- University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security – Report on Elections in the Time of COVID-19
- Fair Elections Center – Report on Registering and Voting in the Era of COVID-19
This new report lays out policy proposals for safeguarding our elections this Fall. Fair Election Center’s proposals address best practices for socially-distanced voter registration, to help people register in the absence or reduction of traditional on-the-ground community voter registration efforts. They also outline best practices for mail voting that consider voters’ ability to practically obtain, cast and return a ballot in this environment. Finally, recognizing the importance of maintaining in-person voting, the proposals include various best practices for in-person voting considering COVID-19.