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PA Counties Prepared to Run another Fair, Secure and Accurate Election

News Date: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

CCAP Reminds Voters of Important Facts Before Election Day
Pennsylvania counties have been hard at work all year preparing the upcoming election. The process of putting on a successful election takes months of effort from county election officials and volunteers.  As Election Day draws near, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is sharing key points voters need to know about how counties follow strict policies and protocols to guarantee one vote is cast for every eligible voter, and what voters should expect on Election Day.

  • The polls are open from 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. To find information about your polling place, voters can contact their county election office or visit https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/Pages/PollingPlaceInfo.aspx.
  • Mail-in and absentee ballots must be in the county election office by 8:00 p.m. Election Day.
    • Please note that postmarks do not count – the ballot must be physically in the office by 8:00 p.m.
    • Mail-in and absentee ballots cannot be returned to the voter to change a vote once the county receives it.
  • If a voter requested a mail ballot and opts to go to their polling place:
    • If the voter has not returned their ballot, they may turn over the ballot and envelopes to be spoiled, and then may vote on the machines in the precinct.
    • If the voter does not bring their ballot and envelopes to be spoiled, a voter may vote by provisional ballot, regardless of whether or not they have returned their mail-in ballot to the county, to help assure the integrity of the vote.
    • Voters cannot submit their completed mail-in ballots at their polling place to be counted. They must be returned by mail, to a county-provided drop box, or directly to the county election office.
  • The best way for a voter to make sure their absentee or mail-in ballot is counted is to read all of the directions carefully, make sure their ballot is in both the secrecy envelope and the outer envelope, and fill in all required information on the outer envelope, including date and signature, before returning it.

Addressing election concerns
Pennsylvania’s counties are prepared, as they always are, to run a fair and accurate election. However, if a voter sees something that causes them concern at the polling place, counties urge voters to report it to the judge of elections at the polling place before they leave, and if not resolved, then to the county board of elections. Voters can also report concerns via the Department of State’s election complaint form here. Counties encourage all voters to take these proper channels to ensure the quickest resolution of problems or misunderstandings, and to rely on their county election office and the Department of State as authoritative sources of information about the election process. Posting concerns to social media does not guarantee they will make it to the proper channels for investigation, and may result in the unintentional spread of misinformation.

Election results
Under state law, counties cannot begin to process mail-in and absentee ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day. While counties strive to have the count of those ballots completed on election night, the volume of ballots alongside how many people and resources must be used to provide a smooth Election Day for all voters, may result in the continued counting of mail-in and absentee ballots after the close of polls and even into the following day/days. This means vote totals may change as counties work to make sure every eligible vote is counted. What this doesn’t reflect is a problem with the voting process. Counties’ top priority is the accuracy of the vote count rather than speed.

And don’t forget about our new YouTube Channel that features CCAP’s program, “County Connections.” There are segments that explain the election process in PA, from registration to post-election audits.