Weitzman News

Posted September 21, 2020

What’s Your Voting Plan?

Voter Registration and Mail-In/Absentee Ballot Information for Weitzman Students, Faculty and Staff

With election day approaching, Sharon Hayes, professor of fine arts, has put together a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the voting process.

Important Dates

  • General Election is on November 3, 2020.
    • Polls are open in PA on election day from 7:00am to 8:00pm
  • Last day to register to vote in PA: October 19, 2020
  • Mail-in and Absentee Ballot Applications for PA must be submitted online OR received by your county election office by 5pm, Tuesday, October 27, 2020
  • Mail-in and Absentee Ballot Return deadlines and protocols for PA are shifting a tad and will be updated with accurate information soon.

STEP 1: Decide where you will or need to vote.
This is more complicated than usual given the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic to our housing situations.

Two Initial Questions

If Then, What? Scenarios

  • If you lived in Philadelphia and are currently registered to vote here but have been displaced by COVID to another state temporarily, you may
    • Vote in PA by mail/absentee ballot, OR
    • Change your voter registration to the state in which you are currently residing
  • If you lived in Philadelphia and are currently registered to vote here but have been displaced by COVID to another county in PA temporarily, you may
    • Vote in Phila by mail/absentee ballot (make sure ballot is sent to current address) OR
    • Change the address on your voter registration to the county in which you are currently residing and either vote in-person or by mail-in ballot
  • If you’ve moved to another address in Philadelphia since the last time you voted, you can
    • Change the address on your voter registration (see below) OR
    • Vote by mail/absentee ballot (make sure ballot is sent to current address)
    • Vote in-person at your previous polling place/old address
  • If you moved to Philadelphia to start school and/or to work at Penn and have not yet voted in PA, you are eligible to register and vote in PA in-person or by mail-in ballot.
  • If you started attending or began working at Penn but have not yet moved to PA, you are eligible to vote in PA only if you move and establish residency 30 days prior to the election on November 3.

STEP 2: Register to vote, update your registration OR skip to Step 3

  • If you need to register to vote in PA for the first time, whether because you are voting for the first time or changing your voter registration from another state
  • If you need to change the address, your name or your party on your PA voter registration?
  • If you need to change your voter registration from PA to another state or get a first- time registration in your home state
    • Check the League of Women Voters VOTE411 website for nationwide voter registration deadlines by state and check with your state’s voter services website
    • See list at the bottom of this page for a quick guide to state voter registration deadlines
  • Additional information specific to college students is on the Department of State's Votes PA website

Please Note: If you are registering in PA for the first time and DO NOT have a PA Driver’s License or PennDOT ID number, you will be asked to submit the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number and, if applying online, to upload a signature. If you do not have the means to do so, print out and complete the paper application or go to your nearest satellite election office to register.

STEP 2: Decide how you’ll be voting

There are four primary ways to vote: in-person, by absentee ballot or by mail-in ballot (these last two are basically the same process in PA now) OR vote in-person (via mail-in ballot) at an early voting/satellite election office.

  • In-person on November 3
    • Look up your assigned polling place
    • Research the candidates, ballot questions and prepare yourself
    • Grab your mask, a bottle of water and a charged phone
    • If this is your first time voting in PA, you MUST bring a photo or non-photo ID
    • See acceptable forms of identification on the Department of State's Votes PA website
    • Show up and VOTE!
    • PA Department of State Election Day Hotline for questions, concerns, problems on November 3
      • 1-877-868-3772
  • Absentee Voting. If you are registered in PA but currently out of the state or country
  • Mail-in Voting. How to get a ballot?
    • If you are living in your registered county but wish to vote by mail you are legally allowed to do so and are not required to submit a reason to do so
    • If you have a PA Driver’s License or PennDOT ID number, you can apply online for a mail-in ballot using PA's online Ballot Request Application. Applications must be received by your county election office (see list from the state of PA) by 5:00pm on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. Please not this is a receipt deadline not a postmark deadline. 
    • If you do not have a PA Driver’s License or PennDOT ID number, you can print out and mail in a mail-in ballot paper application form.
  • Mail-in Voting. How to do it?
    • The County Election Office will mail your ballot to the address you listed on your mail-in ballot application.
    • Research the candidates, ballot questions and mark your ballot.
    • VERY IMPORTANT: Place your ballot in the small envelope labeled “Official Election Ballot/Boleta Oficial de Elecciones” provided, then put that envelope in the larger mailing envelope provided. Make sure you sign the declaration on the outside of that mailing envelope. A graphic on how to complete your ballet is online at phila.gov and this PDF.
    • THEN either
      • Mail your ballot to the Election Office to make sure it will be received (not postmarked) by Tuesday, November 3, 8:00pm [This deadline was just extended by 3 days by the PA Supreme Court BUT don’t tempt fate or the USPS slowdown, mail early!]
      • Hand carry your ballot to a designated drop box OR to your county election office. [Sign up on the Votes PA website to get updates on drop box locations in your county.]
  • NEW OPTION: Mail-in Voting via in-person Satellite Election Office/Early Voting Site
    • This week (the week of Sept 20, 2020), City Election Officials are set to approve satellite election offices to support Philadelphia voters in the 2020 General Election
    • Satellite offices will be open seven days a week from September 29 to November 3. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 to 6:30pm, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 9:30am to 4:30pm
    • Find the most convenient satellite office on the Philadelphia City Commissioners website (PhiladlephiaVotes.com).
    • Voters can register and update registration AND request, fill out and submit a mail-in ballots AND drop-off completed mail-in ballots

More Information (Websites)

Penn Leads the Vote, Penn voter initiative
Vote The Jawn, Philly-specific youth get-out-the-vote initiative
Rock the Vote, National youth get-out-the-vote initiative
Votes PA: Pennsylvania's Official Voter Information Websit, comprehensive information about voting in PA
Know your Voting Rights
VotER, a national, non-partisan non-profit led by medical professionals that aims to help people register to vote and request mail-in ballots so they can vote safely this election

Registration Deadlines by State

States with * can also register in person at election day if needed. But best to do it prior online!

Alabama Deadline to register: October 19, 2020
Alaska Deadline to register: October 4, 2020
Arizona Deadline to register: October 5, 2020
Arkansas Deadline to register: October 5, 2020
California Deadline to register: October 19, 2020*
Colorado Deadline to register: October 26, 2020*
Connecticut Deadline to register: October 27, 2020*
Delaware Deadline to register: October 10, 2020
Florida Deadline to register: October 5, 2020
Georgia Deadline to register: October 5, 2020
Hawaii Deadline to register: October 5, 2020*
Idaho Deadline to register: October 9, 2020*
Illinois Deadline to register: October 6, 2020 by mail; October 18, 2020 online*
Indiana Deadline to register: October 5, 2020
Iowa Deadline to register: October 24, 2020*
Kansas Deadline to register: October 13, 2020 Kentucky Deadline to register: October 5, 2020
Louisiana Deadline to register: October 5, 2020 in person or by mail; October 13, 2020 online
Maine Deadline to register: October 13, 2020*
Maryland Deadline to register: October 13, 2020*
Massachusetts Deadline to register: October 24, 2020
Michigan Deadline to register: October 19, 2020*
Minnesota Deadline to register: October 13, 2020*
Mississippi Deadline to register: October 5, 2020
Missouri Deadline to register: October 7, 2020
Montana Deadline to register: October 5, 2020*
Nebraska Deadline to register: October 16, 2020 by mail or online; October 23, 2020 in person
Nevada: Deadline to register: October 6, 2020 by mail or in person; October 29, 2020 online*
New Hampshire Deadline to register: October 21, 2020 by mail *
New Jersey Deadline to register: October 13, 2020
New Mexico Deadline to register: October 6, 2020; October 31, 2020 in person
New York Deadline to register: October 9, 2020
North Carolina Deadline to register: October 9, 2020; Afterwards October 15, 2020 to October 31, 2020 in person only
North Dakota North Dakota does not have a voter registration process, according to Vote.org. You just need to bring a valid proof of ID and residency to the polls in order to vote.
Ohio Deadline to register: October 5, 2020
Oklahoma Deadline to register: October 9, 2020
Oregon Deadline to register: October 13, 2020
Pennsylvania Deadline to register: October 19, 2020
Rhode Island Deadline to register: October 4, 2020 * for presidential elections only
South Carolina Deadline to register: October 2, 2020 in person; October 4, 2020 online; October 5, 2020 by mail
South Dakota Deadline to register: October 19, 2020
Tennessee Deadline to register: October 5, 2020
Texas Deadline to register: October 5, 2020
Utah Deadline to register: October 23, 2020*
Vermont Deadline to register: November 3, 2020*
Virginia Deadline to register: October 13, 2020
Washington Deadline to register: October 26, 2020*
Washington, D.C. Deadline to register: October 13, 2020*
West Virginia Deadline to register: October 13, 2020
Wisconsin General Election Deadline: October 14, 2020 online or by mail; October 30, 2020 in person*
Wyoming Deadline to register: October 19, 2020 by mail*