Pennsylvania Primary Election Has Early April Date

Pennsylvania Primary Election USA

For those of us who are used to Pennsylvania primary elections occurring in May, this year may be somewhat confusing. Our primary election bears an early arrival date of April 23 which is this coming Tuesday. To add somewhat to the confusion, the primary date of April 23 also occurs on the first day of Passover.

Ballot boxes are now open throughout Pennsylvania and, if you requested a mail in ballot, it would be strongly suggested that you return your completed ballot in person to a ballot box, where available, rather than depending on U.S. Mail for delivery on time. There is very little time. It is too late to request a mail in ballot so, if you did not and you are eligible to vote you would need to vote at the polls.

What to Know About the Primary

It is true that it may feel like no primary is pending. The “presumptive” presidential nominees for both major parties obtained the necessary ballots from other states whose primary dates were even earlier than ours. Also, last November, voters chose local and county officials, judges, school boards and other offices. There are, however, other positions on the ballot and this is the opportunity to indicate your choice of your party’s candidates for those positions as well as for the President.

Especially for new state residents who are not familiar with our procedures it could be noted that Independents, those with no party affiliation, are unable to vote in the primary since the ballots are designated by party affiliation. These are the positions up for consideration. Depending on who has filed as a candidate there may be only name indicated or there may be several.

  •  President of the United States
  • United States Senator
  • Pennsylvania Attorney General
  • Pennsylvania Auditor General
  • Pennsylvania State Treasurer
  • Representative in Congress for your Congressional District
  • Pennsylvania State Senator for your District
  • Pennsylvania State Representative for your District
  • Delegates to the National Convention for your District

Here are some additional tips.

Mail In Ballots/Ballot Boxes and Other Considerations. It has already been stated, if possible, not to mail a mail in ballot but to bring it to a ballot box. It is important to note you cannot have someone else no matter who that person is deliver your ballot to a ballot box. Unless you are disabled you must do it yourself and you need a form authorizing a designated agent.

The Voting Process For Mail In Ballots. If you have received your mail- in ballot, then here is what to do.

First, open the envelope you received and remove the ballot and the two enclosed envelopes. One will be the return envelope preaddressed to Voter Services/Board of Elections (the “return” envelope) and does not require postage. The second (the “secrecy” envelope) states “OFFICIAL ELECTION BALLOT” It will contain your completed ballot for return.

  • Note. DO NOT WRITE OR PUT ANY MARKINGS ON THE SECRECY ENVELOPE.
  • Second. Review the ballot and fill in the circles beside your choices in black or blue ink. Put it aside.
  • Third. Sign and date the back of the “return” envelope. The signature and name should match the name also pre-printed on the back of the return envelope. You can check. Signing and dating the return envelope is important. BE SURE TO INCLUDE THE YEAR. One issue raised that found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court was whether undated return envelopes would be accepted. Also indicate your return address on the front.
  • Next. Place your voted ballot inside the “secrecy” envelope and seal the “secrecy” envelope.

Finally. Place the sealed “secrecy” envelope inside the “return” envelope and, with the “secrecy” envelope enclosed, seal the “return” envelope. Drop it off in person at the ballot box.

Voting At the Polls on Election Day. If you are voting in person at the polls you want to be sure of the current location. Have you changed your address for voting purposes? Your polling place will have a Judge of Elections and workers who can help. You might receive a provisional ballot where there are questions. Also, if you requested a mail-in ballot but did not complete it bring the entire packet with you to the polls and you will receive instructions.

With all that said, you should be fine. Voting matters.

About the Author Janet Colliton

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.

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