Returning Citizens Voter Rights

VOTING RIGHTS

Information for Returning Citizens in PA
2020
voter rights 2020

Your voice matters! Your vote matters!

You may register and vote if you hold citizenship in the United States for at least one month before the next election; are a Pennsylvania resident and resided in your election district for at least 30 days before the next election; and will be at least 18 years of age on the day of the next election. In Pennsylvania, a criminal conviction does not stop you from voting.

Table of Contents

Dates and Deadlines

  • Tuesday, November 3, 2020:General Election Day   
  • Monday, October 19, 2020:Last day to register to vote   
  • Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at 5 p.m: Last day to request an absentee or mail-in ballot 
  • Tuesday, November 3, 2020:Completed mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received by your county election office no later than Friday, November 6, at 5 p.m. (updated 9/17/2020)  
Helpful Links ↓

Need help? Call the Election Protection Hotline.

To get the most up-to-date information about the election, answers to questions about your polling location, get help with any voting-related issue, or report a problem on Election Day, you can call one of these nonpartisan voter hotlines.

English: 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Español and English: 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) NALEO Educational Fund

 (عربى Arabic and English: 844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287) Arab American Institute (AAI)

Mandarin (普通話), Cantonese (廣東話; 話), Korean (한국어), Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt), Tagalog, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali and English – 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) APIAVote & Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)

You can also call the state’s election’s bureau for help, including how to find your city or county’s election office: 1-877-VOTESPA (877-868-3772)

VOTING WITH A CRIMINAL CONVICTION

vote

In Pennsylvania, a criminal conviction does not stop you from voting. You can vote if:

  • You are on probation or parole.
  • You are living in a halfway house. (Must vote with an absentee ballot and cannot use the address of the halfway house as your registration address. Must use previous or future address.)
  • You are in jail awaiting trial. (Must vote with an absentee ballot.)
  • You are currently incarcerated for a misdemeanor conviction. (Must vote with an absentee ballot.)
  • You are under house arrest. (Must vote with an absentee ballot)
Helpful Links ↓

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR REGISTRANTS WHO ARE CONFINED IN JAIL

If you are currently confined in jail for the conviction of a misdemeanor only or if you are awaiting trial, you must register from your last known address before confinement or an address (other than jail) that you have established as your permanent residence.

If you were registered to vote before being confined, your residence is the address where you were last registered before confinement; or the address (other than jail) that you established as your residence address; or the address you established as your permanent address.

ABOUT THE GENERAL ELECTION

hispanic vote 2020

On November 3rd, you and voters across Pennsylvania will elect leaders to represent us. Most of us are familiar with the role of the President, but this Election Day we will also be choosing U.S. Representatives, State Representatives, State Senators, an Auditor General, an Attorney General, and a State Treasurer.

Learn more about the candidates running for office here:
VOTE411.ORG/BALLOT

FAQ's

 NO! You are eligible to vote as long as you are registered.

  • People in jail or prison who have been convicted of misdemeanors (must vote with an absentee ballot)
  • People who are under house arrest (must vote by absentee ballot)
  • People who are on probation or parole
  • People who are on parole or probation living in a halfway house or community corrections center (must vote with an absentee ballot and cannot use the address of the halfway house as their registration address.  They must use their previous or future address.)
  • People being held in jail while they are awaiting trial (must vote with an absentee ballot).
  • People who are in prison or jail because of a felony conviction and who won’t be released before November 3, 2020
  • People who have been convicted of violating Pennsylvania election laws within the past 4  years.

If you are already registered to vote, you do not need to do anything to regain your voting rights!

NO!  Unless you were convicted of a voting rights felony, you are still eligible to vote in Pennsylvania.

You must register to vote by October 19, 2020

A voter who needs an absentee ballot has to apply for one by filling out this form and sending it to his or her county board of elections.  The County Board of Elections must get the application for an absentee ballot by Tuesday, October, 2020 (the Tuesday before the election).

If you are in jail, your residence for voter registration is:

  • The last place you registered to vote before confinement in jail; or
  • Your last known address before confinement; or
  • A new residence established while confined (for example, if your spouse establishes a new residence where you intend to reside upon your release from confinement).

Jail or community confinement facility cannot be your residence address for registering to vote; however, you may use those locations for your mailing address.

If you are qualified to register to vote you may apply to register:

Online. You may visit and submit online voter registration applications at register.votespa.com;

Print. Download and print the voter registration application from the Department of State’s website at register.votespa.com.

Mail. You can obtain a voter registration application by contacting your county board of elections.

Phone. You may also request a voter registration mail application over the phone by calling the Department of State at 1-887-VOTESPA (1-887-868-3772).

IF YOU ARE CONFINED IN JAIL…

• Contact your county board of elections to request an absentee ballot application or download, complete and mail the absentee ballot application to your county board of elections.

• Upon receiving your absentee ballot, you must complete the ballot in secret, enclose it in the envelope marked “Official Absentee Ballot” and then place it in the second envelope.

• Fill out, date and sign the declaration of the elector printed on the second envelope.  

• Seal the envelope and mail it to your county board of elections.

IF YOU ARE NOT CONFINED IN JAIL COMMUNITY CONFINEMENT FACILITY OR UNDER HOUSE ARREST (HOME CONFINEMENT) …

• You may vote in person at your assigned precinct (polling place). The location of your polling place should be included on your voter identification card or can be found online here.

• If you will be absent from their municipality on the day of the election or unable to attend their polling place due to illness or disability (including incarceration or home confinement), you may vote by absentee ballot. Please refer to the procedures outlined above.

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