Voting During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Make Your Plan TODAY
As November 3, 2020 approaches, COVID-19 continues to affect every aspect of our lives – including our elections. PUMP has compiled this voter guide to make sure that you can get informed and vote safely.
Your vote matters. Not only is 2020 a presidential election year, but there are also many important elections for U.S. Congress, statewide offices, and the state legislature happening in the Pittsburgh region and in Pennsylvania. We have the opportunity and the responsibility to make our voices heard on Election Day. Don’t wait – make a plan to cast your vote TODAY.
Read on for answers to all your questions about voting – including how to request a mail-in ballot, how to learn more about the candidates and issues, and how to get out the vote in your community.
We’ll update this post regularly through Election Day. If we missed something, please let us know by emailing email@example.com.
How to Vote
Register to Vote:
- Voter registration deadline: October 19, 2020
- Check your voter registration status
- Register to vote online
- Learn how to update your voter registration if you’ve moved, want to change your party affiliation, or need to change it for another reason.
Vote by Mail:
We encourage everyone who can to vote by mail, rather than going to vote in person on election day, to protect yourself, pollworkers, and your community from the spread of COVID-19. Voting by mail is safe, secure, and easy! Because so many people will be using the vote by mail option, it’s important to request your mail-in ballot early and return it as soon as possible.
- Apply for a Mail-in Ballot before Tuesday, October 27, 2020
- Apply online here: To apply online, you must have a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license or a PennDot photo I.D.
- Learn how to apply by mail: If you do not have a PA driver’s license or PennDot photo ID, you can submit an application by mail.
- Applications must be received (NOT post-marked) by your county election office by 5 PM on October 27, 2020 at the latest.
- NOTE: If you voted by mail in the PA primary election, you may have already requested a mail-in ballot for the general election. You can check here.
- Fill out your ballot: Once you receive your ballot in the mail, follow the instructions to mark your ballot.
- Make sure to follow all instructions and sign the ballot form, or your ballot may not be valid.
- Return your completed ballot as soon as possible and by 8 PM on Election Day (Tuesday, November 3, 2020)
- Return by mail: You can mail your ballot to the County Election Office using the prepaid postage included with your ballot. If you choose this option, be sure to mail it as early as possible so it arrives on time.
- Return in person: There are multiple places where you can return your ballot in person. Nobody else can drop off your ballot for you, and you are not permitted to drop off anyone else’s ballot.
- Allegheny County Election Office (542 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, Room 601) during regular business hours of 8:30 AM-4:30 PM Monday-Friday.
- Additional Elections Division offices will be open on specific dates and times leading up to the November 3rd election. At each office, voters will have the opportunity to vote over-the-counter and return voted mail-in ballots. Learn more and find locations here.
- Track the status of your ballot here
- Additional Info: If you apply to vote by mail but are unable to return your ballot by the deadline either in person or by mail, you can still cast your vote at your polling place on Election Day
- If you bring your unfinished mail-in ballot with you, the pollworkers will spoil that ballot and give you a new, in-person ballot.
- If you do not bring your mail-in ballot with you, the pollworkers will give you a provisional ballot, which will only be counted after the County Election Office determines that your mail-in ballot was not returned.
Vote in Person:
1. Over-the-Counter Voting Before Election Day:
In Allegheny County, voters have the option to vote over-the-counter at official Elections Division offices during designated times leading up to Election Day. At these offices, voters can request their ballot, fill it out, and return it. Here’s where you can go to vote over-the-counter:
- Allegheny County Election Office (542 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, Room 601) from 8:30 AM-4:30 PM Monday-Friday.
- Additional Elections Division Offices will be open on specific dates and times leading up to the November 3rd election for over-the-counter voting and returning mail-in ballots. Find locations and times here.
2. In-Person Voting on Election Day (November 3rd):
Although we strongly advise everyone to vote by mail or vote early, you can still vote in person at your local polling place on Election Day. Here’s some helpful information:
- General Election Day: Tuesday, November 3, 2020
- Polls are open from 7 AM-8 PM
- Find your polling place
- Remember to wear a mask at your polling place to help keep pollworkers and your fellow voters safe.
- Learn about Allegheny County’s new voting system: Allegheny County has step-by-step instructions for voting using the new system, as well as instructional videos.
Check out the Allegheny County Board of Elections’ FAQ page for more information on voting.
Who is on Your Ballot
Overview of PA’s General Election:
- President – 2020 is a presidential election year
- U.S. House – There will be elections for all 18 of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Congressional seats
- State Executive Offices – There will be elections for three statewide executive offices:
- State Auditor General
- Attorney General
- PA Senate – There will be elections for 25 of the 50 seats in the PA Senate
- PA House – There will be elections for all 203 seats in the PA House of Representatives
Candidate Forums and Events:
- Early Childhood Education Candidates Conversation (Allegheny County) – Children Matter Action Fund – Wed. 9/23 @ 5:30 PM-7 PM
Check back here as the election approaches for more upcoming events
Tips for getting to know candidates virtually and safely:
- View Fair Districts PA’s Know Before You Vote guide to learn about candidates’ positions on redistricting reform
- Check out candidates’ official campaign websites and social media pages to learn about more about who they are and where they stand on the issues that matter to you
- If a candidate is currently an elected official, research their voting record
- Reach out to a candidate’s campaign to ask questions
Know Your Rights as a Voter
- Votes PA Guide (Official PA Government website)
- Election Protection
- Voting with a Criminal Conviction (via the ACLU of PA)
How to Get Out the Vote in Your Community
Allegheny County Needs More Pollworkers:
- Learn more about being a pollworker and how to apply
- This is a paid opportunity. Many poll workers are older adults who are more vulnerable to COVID-19. If you are young and healthy, you can make a big difference by taking on this job and helping the election run smoothly and safely!
Volunteer, Donate, and Support these Organizations:
Many non-partisan organizations are working hard to ensure that everyone’s right to vote is protected, that everyone has the information and resources they need to vote, and more. Check out some of them below:
- ACLU of Pennsylvania
- Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP)
- Chatham University’s Pennsylvania Center for Women & Politics
- JCC Center for Loving Kindness
- League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh
- VEEM Pittsburgh (Voter Empowerment, Education, and Enrichment Movement)
- When We All Vote
Additional Resources to Share:
- Voter Resources – League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh
- Find nonpartisan and reliable information for the 2020 General Election process, resources for youth empowerment, voter registration, mail-in voting, and more.
How to Spot Fake News and Misinformation
- Poltifact – Fact-checking website
- Fake News: How to Spot Misinformation (NPR)
- “Fake News,” Lies, and Propaganda: How to Sort Fact From Fiction (University of Michigan)
- #CheckYourFacts (University of Pittsburgh)