Everything You Need to Know for the PA General Election on November 3, 2020

Katie Phillips Active + Engaged Residents, Advocacy, Featured Advocacy, General

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 katie@pump.org.

How to Vote

Register to Vote:

Vote by Mail:

We encourage everyone who can to vote by mail or over-the-counter, 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.

**UPDATE 10/14/20** The Allegheny County Elections Division announced that 28,879 voters in Allegheny County were mistakenly sent the wrong ballot. If you received the wrong ballot, a corrected ballot will be reissued to you. To find out if you were affected, use the search tool available on the Allegheny County Elections website.

  • Apply for a Mail-in Ballot by Tuesday, October 27, 2020
    • Apply in-person at the County Elections Office or a satellite office (as we get closer to the election, we recommend this option)
    • Apply online here if you have a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license or a PennDot photo I.D.
    • Apply by mail
    • Applications must be received (NOT post-marked) by the county election office by 5 PM on October 27, 2020 at the latest.
    • If you voted by mail in the PA primary election, you may have already requested a mail-in ballot for the general election. Check here.
  • Fill out your ballot
    • Follow all instructions including putting your ballot inside the secrecy envelope and signing the declaration envelope, or your ballot may not be valid.
  • Return your completed ballot in-person or by mail ASAP and by 8 PM on Election Day (Tuesday, November 3, 2020)
    • Return by mail: We recommend that you return your ballot in person this close to Election Day, not by mail, because your ballot might not arrive on time to be counted.
    • Return in person: Drop off your ballot at the County Elections Office or a satellite office at designated times. Nobody else can drop off your ballot for you, and you are not permitted to drop off anyone else’s ballot.
      • Allegheny County is also offering extended lobby hours for mail-in ballot drop-offs only at the County Office Building:
        • Mon. 10/26 – Mon. 11/2 – 8 AM-8 PM
        • Tues. 11/3 – 7 AM-8 PM
  • Track the status of your ballot
  • Additional Info: If you apply to vote by mail but are unable to return your ballot by the deadline, 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, you can request your mail-in ballot, fill it out, and return it all at once. If you already received your mail-in ballot, you can return it at one of these offices.

Dates and Locations:

  • Weekdays through 10/23 – 8:30 AM-4:30 PM
    • County Office Building (542 Forbes Avenue, Room 601)
  • Sat. 10/24 – 9 AM-5 PM
    • County Office Building
    • CCAC South
      Boyce Park Four Seasons Lodge
    • CCAC Allegheny
    • North Park Ice Rink
  • Sun. 10/25 – 11 AM-7 PM
    • County Office Building
    • CCAC South
      Boyce Park Four Seasons Lodge
    • CCAC Allegheny
    • North Park Ice Rink
  • Mon. 10/26 – 8:30 AM-8 PM
    • County Office Building
  • Tues. 10/27 – Fri. 10/30 – 8:30 AM-4:30 PM
    • County Office Building
  • Mon. 11/2-Tues. 11/3 – 8:30 AM-4:30 PM
    • County Office Building

**UPDATE 10/20/20** Allegheny County is offering extended lobby hours for mail-in ballot drop-offs only at the County Office Building:

  • Mon. 10/26 – Mon. 11/2 – 8 AM-8 PM
  • Tues. 11/3 – 7 AM-8 PM

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:

Check out the Allegheny County Board of Elections’ FAQ page for more information on voting.

Who (and What) 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
    • Treasurer
  • 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

Pittsburgh Voters: Ballot Question on Citizen Police Review Board:

  • Pittsburgh voters will have a question on their ballot that asks whether or not the powers of the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board, an independent agency set up to investigate citizen complaints about improper police conduct, should be expanded. The question on the ballot reads:

Shall the Pittsburgh Home Rule Charter, Article Two, Executive, be amended and supplemented by amending and adding new language to Sections 229 and 230 and adding a new Section, 231, expanding the powers of the Independent Citizen Police Review Board to allow the Board to require police officers to participate in investigations, conducting performance audits of the Police Bureau and preventing the removal of Board members except for just cause and with City Council approval?

Candidate Forums, Debates, and Other Civic Engagement Events:

Past Events:

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
How to Get Out the Vote in Your Community

Text Voters with Repair the World + When We All Vote:

Give Voters Free Rides to the Polls with Roll to the Polls (B-PEP + VEEEM)

Submit B-PEP’s volunteer form and sign up for Roll to the Polls.
Need a ride to the polls or know someone who does? Call 412-212-8775 BEFORE ELECTION DAY or 412-434-0919 ON ELECTION DAY!

Sign Up to Be an Election Protection Volunteer:

Help protect voters rights as a nonpartisan Election Protection volunteer. Opportunities include monitoring polling places, watching social media for disinformation, or reaching out to voters to make sure they know their rights. Sign up here.

Sign up to be a Pollworker in Allegheny County:

**UPDATE** Allegheny County now has plenty of pollworkers and all polling locations will be open and fully staffed!

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:

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.
  • #RepairTheVote – Repair the World
    • A non-partisan guide to this November’s election
How to Spot Fake News and Misinformation