When is a vote more than a vote? When it’s a message that democracy is important. And that’s what is is every time you vote! Why vote in every election? See here.

Why Vote Down Ballot?

What does down ballot even mean? Paying attention to all candidates and casting your vote for EACH & EVERY RACE is called “Voting Down the Ballot.”  Democratic executive branch leaders are severely hampered without a supportive legislative branch.

  • A Democratic governor needs Democratic State Senators and Democratic State House Representatives to get progressive legislation passed and to protect his vetoes of objectionable legislation.
  • A Democratic president needs Democrat US Senators from PA and Democratic US House of Representatives from PA to get progressive legislation passed.
  • Likewise, with a Republican President or Governor, we need Democrats is both the US Senate and US House and PA State Senate and PA State House to halt the destruction of the what we hold dear.

So getting to the polls or voting by mail for each election is just the first step!

Unlike a river running downstream—where the runoff from the top tends to flood the banks below, Down Ballot Candidates for US Senate, US House of Representatives, PA State Senate and PA House of Representatives DO NOT automatically gain from voters for President or Governor.  We encourage you to vote the straight party ticket in the general elections, and we also encourage you to learn about all candidates.  Every Democrat needs to learn about and VOTE IN EVERY RACE ON THE BALLOT.

Much is at stake when you do not vote down ballot. Local and county governments are the closest to impacting your life and the lives of the people who you love. PA State Representatives and PA State Senators vote on bills concerning:

  • education
  • energy/renewables
  • environment
  • budget
  • taxes
  • individual and municipal rights
  • other issues that directly impact you and your family’s everyday lives.

Please Note: In odd-numbered years, candidates for School Director, Court of Common Pleas, and Magisterial District Judge can be cross-listed; therefore, not all candidates appearing as Democrats on the November ballot are actually Democrats. Contact your zone to find out who are actually Democrats and hold Democratic values.


A sample ballot is any replica or reduced version of the official specimen ballot annotated to make recommendations to voters. A specimen ballot is a copy of the official ballot without any recommendations. As any election approaches, Click here to download current specimen ballots for all precincts (on the left, confusingly there called “Sample Ballots”).

Please Note: If you plan to distribute a sample ballot consisting of a copy of a Chester specimen ballot annotated or altered to show recommended votes, be sure to:

  • White out or cover over the Chesco Commissioners’ names at the bottom. They are not endorsing your specimen ballot!
  • Indicate who is distributing it, For instance, write on the ballot before you copy it: “distributed by Democratic committee persons in precinct X.” (This is to inform your voters and fend off any unauthorized versions.)
  • Write “Paid By + appropriate organization” (e.g., your Dem zone) at the bottom. (This is required by law.)

The first time you vote in person after registering in a new precinct, you must bring currently valid identification (driver’s license, student ID card, utility bill, bank statement, etc.). With a first-time voter absentee vote application, send a photocopy of one of those items. In both cases, photo ID works best.

If not voting in person for the first time in your precinct, you do not need identification to vote, although you will need to supply a drivers license number, state ID number, or Social Security number when applying to vote by mail.

While this is not optimal, you may cast a provisional ballot, which may or not be counted if you are turned down for a regular ballot. This is why it’s important to be sure you know your correct polling place before you go to vote. Click here to find your polling location.  Details provided by Chesco Voter Services, 11/15:

Provisional Ballot Regs:

25 P.S. §3050

A provisional ballot is used to record a vote when there is a question regarding a voter’s eligibility. The voter has the right to vote by provisional ballot if:

  • Their name does not appear in the poll book or supplemental list and is not able to be determined their registration status immediately.
  • The poll book indicates ID REQUIRED in the poll book signature block and the voter is unable to show proper ID (ID needed when first time voting in that precinct).
  • If the voter is challenged based on their registration and they are unable to complete the Challenge Affidavit.
  • The voter is accidentally in the wrong precinct and does not have enough time to vote at their correct precinct.
  • Only those contests that match the voter’s original precinct ballot will be counted.
  • If the voter “intentionally and willfully” went to the wrong precinct to try and cast a vote, it will not be counted. (this happens often when voters assume it is ok to try to vote in a different precinct because it is more convenient to them)
  • If the voter uses a Provisional Ballot but fails to sign it, or if their signature is determined to be fraudulent or not match their registration record, it will not count.

*In all cases the Judge of Elections should call Voter Services before issuing a Provision ballot. VS will research the situation and determine the voter’s registration status first.

Unlike many states, Pennsylvania permits voting by most individuals who have a legal record. Basically, all can register and vote except those who are currently serving a sentence for a felony (the highest class of offense, more serious than misdemeanors) and who will not be released before the next election (more here).

Or, phrased positively, the following may register and vote if they have been citizens of the United States for at least one month before the next election; have been residents of Pennsylvania and their respective election districts for at least 30 days before the next election; and will be at least 18 years of age on the day of the next election:

  • Pretrial detainees (individuals who are confined in a penal institution awaiting trial on charges of a felony or a misdemeanor).
  • Convicted misdemeanants (individuals who are confined in a penal institution for conviction of a misdemeanor only).
  • Individuals who have been released (or will be released by the date of the next election) from a correctional facility or halfway house upon completion of their term of incarceration for conviction of a misdemeanor or a felony.
  • Individuals who are on probation or released on parole, including parolees who are living in a halfway house.
  • Individuals who are under house arrest (home confinement), regardless of their conviction status or the status of their conditions of confinement.

Click here to learn more.

“Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part.”

-- Sen. John Lewis

Chester County Democratic Committee

37 South High St., West Chester, PA 19382

(610) 692-5811 • [email protected]

© 2019 Chester County Democratic Committee

37 South High St.
    West Chester, PA 19382

(610) 692-5811

email CCDC


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