Stay calm and vote early – Here’s how

by Barbara Thomson
Posted 9/30/20

So many choices! You have most likely been flooded or overwhelmed with ads and slogans over the past few weeks encouraging you to vote and the various ways to do so. And the information is changing …

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Stay calm and vote early – Here’s how

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So many choices! You have most likely been flooded or overwhelmed with ads and slogans over the past few weeks encouraging you to vote and the various ways to do so. And the information is changing every day. The good news for Philadelphians is that there are more ways to vote than in previous elections and you can now vote early by mail or at a Satellite Office. There’s no need to panic and you have time to make your plan. Election Day is November 3; however, we recommend preparing for it so that your vote counts.

Over the next weeks, on behalf of the 9th Ward Democratic Committee, we will be writing about what you can be doing to ensure your vote is counted. This week, we are focusing on making sure you are registered and introducing your various options. Next week, we will discuss the nuances of your options. We will be trying out the Satellite Office in Roxborough and letting you know how it goes. When the Satellite Office in Germantown opens, we’ll try that, too. As we go forward, we will keep you updated on what we have learned from the Board of Elections and our experiences; as well as provide you with the Ward’s recommendations on the Ballot Questions.

As you prepare for Election Day and/or Early Voting, we created a recommended schedule for you to follow. We endorse being safe and voting early. Please, keep in mind that the official deadlines are later than those shown below.

Week of September 28:

  1. Ensure you are registered to vote (if not, register).

Here’s a link or call 1-877-VOTESPA or the Philadelphia County Board of Elections at 215-686-1590. Check online at pavoterservices.pa.gov/Pages/voterregistrationstatus.aspx

The official deadline is October 19, but we recommend you do this now.

  1. Think about your three voting options: You may vote in-person on Election Day November 3, mail-in (must request by October 27th), or at any satellite office throughout the city starting on September 29.

The satellite offices will allow you to request your ballot, fill it out, and submit it – all at the same time. You can also submit your mail-in ballot that you received in the mail at a satellite office. Please go to the website iwillvote.com for locations.

Mail-in voting requires you to apply for a ballot to come to you in the mail. It will be a paper ballot that you will fill out and you will send back to your Board of Elections. You can submit your mail-in ballot at a US Post Office or mailbox, satellite office, or a drop-box location. We will write about the drop-box locations and how to submit your ballot next week. Meanwhile, if you would like to request or check on your mail-in ballot, you may use this link: votespa.com/Voting-in-PA/Pages/Mail-and-Absentee-Ballot.aspx

If you are considering voting in-person, the links above will identify your polling place.

Week of October 5: Decide whether you want to vote in-person, mail-in, or at satellite office. If you decide you want a mail-in ballot, make sure you requested it. Use the above website or call your division committee person for help. The official deadline for submitting your request for a mail-in ballot is October 27 at 5 p.m., but we consider waiting until then as risky behavior.

Week of October 12: Submit your paper ballot either by mail, at a satellite office, or a drop-box. mail-in ballots must be postmarked by November 3, 2020 but we consider waiting until then as risky behavior, too.

Week of October 17: Relax, you’re all done if you submitted your ballot. If you haven’t sent in your ballot, submit it by mail, at a satellite office or drop box.

Week of October 25: If you haven’t submitted your ballot, either take it to the post office, drop-box or satellite office immediately. If you’ve decided to vote in-person, re-check your in-person polling place on the website above. Note, you can vote in-person even if you received a paper ballot. We’ll explain in the coming weeks.

November 3: VOTE In-Person at your polling place.

Finally, let me or your 9th Ward Division Committeeperson know if you have any questions or concerns.

Barbara Thomson is a Democratic Committee Person,  Ward 9, Division 5

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