7 Ways to Prepare to Vote

Vote via Patch.com

Election Day is November 2nd for Pennsylvanians. Off-year elections happen every odd-numbered year and they don’t receive as much attention as presidential elections. They get a lower turnout but have a big impact on many elected offices including the courts. Don’t wait until you get to the ballot box to prepare to vote.

Voting in Person

Voter holding "I Voted" sticker in Philadelphia
(Photo from Phila.gov)
  1. First you need to check your registration at https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/pages/voterregistrationstatus.aspx?ref=voteusa. You need to be registered to vote a few weeks before election day. Make sure to keep your registration up to date if you move or change your name.
  2. Find your polling place at https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/pages/pollingplaceinfo.aspx. They can change from year to year. Polling places are open from 7am to 8pm. If you are in line by the closing time, they have to let you vote.
  3. Check your ballot in advance. Voting should be an open note test. https://ballotpedia.org/Sample_Ballot_Lookup is a good resource to find a preview of your ballot. You should be able to see the candidates for each position as well as any ballot measures. 
  4. Google the candidates. Search for articles about each person and decide who shares your goals and values.
  5. Check the candidates’ campaign sites and social media. This is a good way to see what they stand for, especially if they aren’t getting media coverage. Keep in mind these websites will tell you what they want you to know, and not necessarily the whole picture.
  6. Schedule a time to go to your polling place. Block out time before or after work or whenever works for you. Write it on your calendar and set an alarm. 
  7. Vote! This is the moment you’ve been preparing for! Post your “I voted” selfie after.

Plan for the future:

  • Consider voting in advance through early voting or voting by mail. Ballots can be mailed back or dropped off in an official dropbox in your county. 
  • Remember to follow your elected officials after election day to hold them accountable. Democracy isn’t a one day event.

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