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PA Voters Urged to Hand-Deliver Mail-in and Absentee Ballots Instead of Mailing

A Monroe County voter deposits a voted ballot in the official ballot drop box located at the Pocono Mountain Public Library in Coolbaugh Township, one of several such drop boxes located throughout the county.

HARRISBURG (OCT 29 2020)Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar today urged Pennsylvania voters to hand-deliver their mail ballots to their county election office, drop box or other designated location as soon as possible.

“Voters who have received but not returned their mail ballots should drop them off immediately,” said Secretary Boockvar. “We know the court rulings are confusing but there is one simple way to ensure your vote is counted: Submit your ballot today. Hand-deliver your mail ballot as soon as possible to your county election office or authorized drop-off location no later than election day, and you can be certain that your vote will be counted.”

Voters who requested mail ballots have several options for how to return their ballots:

  • Drop off your ballot at your county election office

  • Find out if your county has drop boxes. If so, voters can deliver their ballots there.

  • Find out if your county has a satellite election office where you can drop off your ballot. Several counties have extended hours, including evenings and weekends to accommodate voters.

Mailed ballots must be postmarked by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 and received by the county election office by 5 p.m. on Nov. 6. Hand-delivered ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on election day. However, Pennsylvania Republicans have sought to negate ballots cast on or before election day, but not delivered until after this coming Tuesday. While the United States Supreme Court declined to decide their appeal prior to election day, they could press the case to have those votes thrown out retroactively.

To avoid that potential, Pennsylvania officials are urging hand delivery for those with absentee or mail-in ballots who have not yet returned them.

Vote-by-Mail and Absentee Ballots can be dropped off at the Monroe County Elections and Voter Registration Office in the Monroe County Administrative Building, One Quaker Plaza, Room 105, Stroudsburg, PA 18360, between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, weekdays.

For the first time, the ballots for the November 3 General Election can also be deposited at several places around the county during the normal hours of operation of the locations. The remote ballot boxes are located at:

Pocono Mountain Public Library, 5500 Municipal Drive, Tobyhanna;

Clymer Library, 115 Firehouse Lane, Pocono Pines;

Western Pocono Public Library, 131 Pilgrim Way, Broadheadsville;

Eastern Monroe Public Library, 1002 N 9th Street, Stroudsburg; and, Smithfield Township Municipal Bldg, 1155 Red Fox Road, East Stroudsburg.

Before casting their mail ballot, the voter should:

  • Read the instructions carefully.

  • Fill out the ballot, being sure to follow instructions on how to mark selections.

  • Seal the ballot in the white inner secrecy envelope that indicates “official ballot.” Make sure not to make any stray marks on the envelope.

  • Then seal the inner secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed outer return envelope which the voter must sign.

  • Complete and sign the voter’s declaration on the outside of the outer return envelope.

  • For the ballot to be counted, it must be enclosed in both envelopes and the voter must sign the outer envelope.

Under Pennsylvania law, voters may only return their own ballots. The only exceptions to this are for voters with a disability who have designated someone in writing to deliver their ballot, or voters who need an emergency absentee ballot. Voters with a disability have several options for how to cast their ballots this election.

Voters who applied for and received a mail ballot and then decide they want to vote at the polls must bring their entire mail ballot packet with them to be voided, including both envelopes. They may then vote on their county’s voting system.

If a voter applies for a mail ballot but does not return it and no longer has the mail ballot and envelopes, they may vote by provisional ballot at the polls on election day. Their county board of elections will then verify that they did not vote by mail before counting their provisional ballot.

Additionally, if a voter’s absentee or mail‐in ballot is rejected for a reason other than their qualification or eligibility to vote, such as a missing signature or naked ballot, they may vote by provisional ballot. 

“Election day is just five days away. Do not wait to return your mail ballot,” said Secretary Boockvar. “Deliver your ballot today and ensure your voice is heard in this upcoming election.”

For more information on voting and elections call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit votesPA.com.

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