Guide to Voting in the 2020 Election

Keela Delves, News Editor

Voting, especially in times like these, is quintessential. However, trying to navigate the ins and outs of voting, especially for beginners, may be rather difficult. Thankfully, certain aspects of voting have become very convenient this year as much of the process has been moved to a virtual platform. Whether you are an already registered voter looking to obtain a mail-in ballot or a first time voter looking for guidance, here is some helpful information. 

Voter Registration

The 2020 Presidential election is very important to young voters as this will be the first election many students will be eligible to cast their vote in. Luckily, registering to vote has never been easier. In Pennsylvania, new voters have until October 19th, 2020 to register virtually. On the PA Voter Registration Website, applicants are asked to provide standard information such as social security number, driver’s license number, date of birth, and a permanent address. After submitting an application, applicants should receive an envelope in the mail with a certificate of voter registration that includes the party, precinct, and polling place of the voter. 

In-Person Voting

While in-person voting may not be a viable option for everyone this election, voters will still have the opportunity to do so at their own discretion, in their designated polling place. This polling place will be assigned to the voter upon receiving their Certificate of Voter Registration and will be located on the certificate itself. First time voters should also expect to provide ID before voting. As polling places will be working to maintain social distancing guidelines, in-person voters will experience longer lines and longer waits than would be expected in previous years. 

Mail-In Ballots

This election is expected to see more mail-in ballots than ever before due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Many states are making the applications for mail-in ballots more readily available and accessible to voters. In Pennsylvania, the deadline for requesting a mail-in ballot is October 27th, 2020. A mail-in ballot request can be found on the PA Mail-In Ballot Application page. Once the voter has received a ballot in the mail, they will provide the information prompted and place it in a prepaid envelope to be mailed and later counted. These ballots must be received by November 3rd, 2020 in order to count.