FAQ's for voting

From staff reports
A 'I Voted' sticker is pictured here following a visit to a voting booth. FILE PHOTO

The Franklin County Board of Elections is providing answers to frequently asked questions it is receiving concerning the Nov. 3 presidential election:

– What is the deadline to either register to vote or make a change to my name, addressor party affiliation?

Monday, Oct. 19, is the deadline to submit a voter registration application. Postmarks do not apply so the form must physically be received by the deadline. Once processed, the voter will receive a voter registration card in the mail providing them their polling place location.

Voters can access the application by visiting: www.votespa.com

– I have not voted for several years and am not sure if I am still registered or need to update my name or address? Where can I check my status?

To search for your voter registration status (active or inactive), your party affiliation, or your polling place address, log onto the SURE Public Portal at www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us or call the Voter Registration Office a 717-261-3886 during business hours.

– Will my polling place be open for in-person voting on Nov. 3?

Our goal is to have all 73 polling places in Franklin County open for those who wish to cast their ballot in-person. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

– What is the deadline for applying for an absentee or mail-in ballot?

Voters have until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, to apply for their ballot. Keep in mind that once Voter Registration receives an application, a ballot has to be mailed to the voter, voted and then returned to Voter Registration by mail or in person. For this reason voters are encouraged to not wait until the last minute. Voters can access the online application at: www.votespa.com

– I submitted my mail-in ballot application several weeks ago. When can I expect to receive my ballot in the mail?

Our goal is to mail out the ballots towards the end of September which will give voters over 30 days to vote and return them.

– What is the deadline to return a voted ballot?

A voter has until 8 p.m. on election day to return their own voted ballot to the Voter Registration Office which is located on the first floor of the Old Courthouse, 2 N. Main St., Chambersburg, which is on the northeast corner of the square. (Note: Cellphones are currently not permitted in the Old Courthouse). At this time, Franklin County is not planning on utilizing drop boxes due to security concerns.

– If I requested to be placed on the permanent list to receive an absentee or mail-in ballot, but changed my mind and now want to vote in-person, will I be allowed to do so?

Yes, but first you will need to complete and return a Request to Cancel Absentee or Mail-in Ballot Status form. This form can be found at the following link: https://www.votespa.com/Resources/Documents/PADOS_PermStatusCancellationForm.pdf

– What if I decide after receiving my ballot in the mail that I wish to vote at my polling place on election day. Will I be permitted to vote a regular ballot or will I need to vote a provisional ballot?

In order to vote a regular ballot at the polls after receiving a mail-in ballot, the voter will need to take their mail-in ballot and declaration envelope to the polling place to be voided. At that time, the voter will be provided a regular ballot that they can vote and scan into the precinct counter.

– I need to complete either a voter registration, absentee or mail-in application but I do not have access to a computer. How do I obtain a form?

Any of the forms can be obtained by contacting either the Voter Registration Office at 717-261-3886 or the County Board of Elections at 717-261-3818.

– Is voting by mail safe in Franklin County?

While the mail-in ballot provision is brand new this year, Franklin County has had absentee balloting available for many, many years and has had no reports of fraudulent activity. The Voter Registration Office verifies each application by checking either the voter’s Social Security information or driver’s license information. Once the ballot is received back, the voter’s signature is compared to the one we have on file. All applications and ballots are processed in Franklin County locally by dedicated, trustworthy staff who make it their top priority to insure every allowable ballot is counted.