With the upcoming Presidential and General Election, questions have been floated whether Vote By Mail which has been expanded recently in Pennsylvania, is safe. Readers will be glad to know this method is safe and reliable and might even be more safe than voting in person. More on this later.
Vote By Mail has actually been in place for many years in our State under the name “Absentee Ballot.” The difference is that, under Pennsylvania practice, Vote By Mail is the equivalent of what is sometimes referred to as “No Excuse Absentee Ballot,” that is no excuse such as illness or being outside the jurisdiction on election day is necessary to use a mail in ballot. In addition, now it is possible to follow the progress of your ballot every step of the way. One web site, also available on smart phone, you should make part of your regularly visited sites is VotesPa.com to answer almost any question you could ask.
To begin at the beginning. You should know that the one credible threat to mail in voting relates to the actions of the newly appointed Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy. DeJoy’s policies have resulted in some mail processors being taken out of service and other changes that have resulted in slowed mail delivery. The most immediate answer to this concern is to take action as soon as possible to assure your mail-in ballot will be safely received by Election Day, November 3.
o On Vote By Mail, if you voted by mail in the Pennsylvania Primary on June 2, 2020, then you had the opportunity with a check box to indicate you wanted to continue to receive Mail In or Absentee Ballots. If you checked that box, you have already made application for a Mail In Ballot and you do not need to do anything else to receive your Ballot. If you are one of those nervous people like me who want to check endlessly, you can check at any point to see the status of your application. For this you should go to the website pavoterservices.pa.gov where you will see your “Election Ballot Status.” It will tell you, if this is the case, that your “OnLine Mail In Verified,” for the “2020 General Election,” state the date your “Application Received” and the date (usually the same date) when it was processed. It has space for “Ballot Mailed On” which will be blank since Ballots for the Election have not been mailed yet. “Ballot Received” will be blank for the same reason. Status will indicate “Pending.”
o If in the Primary you voted by Mail but did not request to remain on the list to receive Ballots in the future, you need to apply now.
o If you never requested a Mail In Ballot then now is the time to do it.
Mail In and Absentee Ballots are not counted until Election Day so expect a time delay which could be days or weeks nationally in learning the official final tally.
Esquire, Colliton Law Associates, P.C. Janet Colliton has practiced law for over 38 years, 37 of them in Chester County, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Her practice, Colliton Law Associates, PC, is limited to elder law, Medicaid, including advice, applications and appeals, and other benefits planning including Veterans benefits, life care and special needs planning, guardianships, retirement, and estate planning and administration.