Voting 101: Your guide to Election Day

College students are traditionally seen as non-voters on Election Day. With our extensive instructions, you’re left with few excuses.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4.
In Pennsylvania, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The busiest times of the day to vote are before and after normal business hours. If possible, try going at less-busy times. Voters who are in line by the time the polls close are allowed to cast their votes.
All registered voters can vote on Election Day. Make sure to:

Know Where to Vote
Polling places are determined by mailing addresses listed on voter registration cards. To locate polling places or view a demonstration of the type of voting system used in Pennsylvania counties, visit

Bring Identification
All first-time voters must bring identification with them in order to vote.
Approved forms of photo identification include:
• Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT ID card
• ID issued by any Commonwealth agency
• ID issued by the U.S. Government
• U.S. passport
• Student ID (Owl Card)
• Employee ID
Approved forms of non-photo identification include:
• Confirmation issued by the County Voter Registration Office
• Non-photo ID issued by the Commonwealth
• Non-photo ID issued by the U.S. Government
• Current utility bill
• Current bank statement
• Current paycheck
Those who do not bring an ID on Election Day can vote with a provisional ballot, which is used to record a vote when there a question regarding a voter’s eligibility.

Avoid Overvoting
An overvote happens when voters vote for more candidates than the number of candidates they are permitted to vote for in a particular office race.

If a voter accidentally votes for more than the allowed number of candidates, ask for a new ballot before the defective ballot is cast. If the ballot is not cast, the District Board of Elections is obligated to provide a replacement ballot upon request.

Overvotes occur when voting on an optical scan or paper ballot voting system, not on a direct recording electronic voting system.

Request Assistance While Voting
Voters who have disabilities, physical limitations or limited English proficiency can ask for help at their polling places. Voters may also contact their County Voter Registration offices before Election Day to request assistance.

Know What to Wear
The Pennsylvania Department of State has informed county elections officials that voters who show up at the polls wearing campaign buttons or T-shirts are allowed to cast their ballots.

Voters are prohibited from campaigning in the polling place by soliciting votes for political parties or candidates. Poll watchers in some counties, however, cannot wear clothing or buttons that advocate the election of a candidate or a specific political party.

For registered voters in Pennsylvania, all absentee ballots are due this Friday, Oct. 31.

Brittany Diggs can be reached at

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