Plan Your Vote
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!
Am I registered to vote and how do I change?
Check whether you are registered, in which precinct, and in which party here.
You can register or change party or address of registration any time between the day after one primary or general election and 30 days before the next election.
Do you need to update any part of your registration such as name, address or party? Use the same form as for initial registration.
When and Where Do I Vote?
Where is my polling place? Check the answer here.
Or, go to the interactive map on our Zones page and follow the instructions to the “more” button.
As a registered Democrat, your vote is essential twice a year—in every primary and general election.
When do I vcote?
- In a presidential election year, the primary is in April. In all other election years, the primary is in May.
- The general election is always the Tuesday after the first Monday in November of that year.
- Polls are open for in-person voting from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day.
- If there is a line formed, and you are in the line at 8 p.m., you will be allowed to vote.
WHAT WILL THE BALLOT LOOK LIKE?
To see what your ballot will look like, a few weeks before the next election and you will be able to download the pdf with all specimen ballots and find your precinct. In a primary you will look only for the Democratic ballot; in a general election, everyone uses the same ballot.
WHAT IS A SAMPLE BALLOT?
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. Click here to see a specimen ballot.
Please Note: If you plan to distribute a sample ballot consisting of a copy of a Chester specimen ballot altered to show recommended votes, be sure to:
- Indicate who is distributing it, For instance, write Democratic committee persons in precinct X on the ballot.
- Write “Paid By + appropriate organization” at the bottom.
HOW DO I VOTE ABSENTEE?
If you cannot go to your polling place in person on election day, see here.
WILL I NEED AN ID TO VOTE?
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, as long as you have a drivers license or Social Security number.
On Jan. 17, 2014, the Commonwealth Court struck down the Corbett voter ID law, which never took effect, as unconstitutional, discriminatory, and mismanaged, concluding that “the Voter ID Law renders Pennsylvania’s fundamental right to vote so difficult to exercise as to cause de facto disenfranchisement.”
Download the state publications 2018 Important Dates (dates for elections, registration deadlines, absentee ballots, etc.) here: Important dates 2016.
CAN VOTERS WHO HAVE BEEN IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW VOTE?
Unlike many states, Pennsylvania permits voting by most individuals who have a legal record.
The following individuals 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.
WHAT IS A PROVISIONAL BALLOT?
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.
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.
- A Democratic president needs Democrat US Senators from PA and Democratic US House of Representatives from PA to get progressive legislation passed.
- Likewise, if you have a Republican executive branch leader (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 absentee for each 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:
- individual and municipal rights
- other issues that directly impact you and your family’s everyday lives.
Please Note:: 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 our values.
Why Should I Vote in Every Election?
There are two elections every year: a primary election in the spring and general election in fall. We need you to vote at every one! Anyone who votes only in the presidential general election is losing out on 87.5% of the opportunity to be heard at the polls.
The rules are made by those who show up. If you don’t register and vote, the rules for you and your family’s future will be made by others.
- You want to protect the environment.
- You want a fair minimum wage and equal pay for equal work.
- You want students to have affordable loans.
- You want the US to catch up to other countries in health care access.
- You want a fair tax code.
- Register and vote so you can say what you want. And vote for Democrats.
A Democrat who doesn’t vote is casting half a vote for the other side.
Pennsylvania has almost a million more Democrats than Republicans. But Democrats have less than half as many seats in Congress as Republicans. Why? A major factor is voter turnout.
"I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land." --MLK Jr., April 3, 1968
Chester County Democratic Committee
37 South High St., West Chester, PA 19382
(610) 692-5811 • [email protected]
© 2019 Chester County Democratic Committee