Voter's guide: 2019 municipal elections in York County
York County's municipal elections are Tuesday, Nov. 5, and The York Dispatch wants to make sure that no voters arrive at their polling places with unanswered questions.
County voters will have a variety of races in which to cast their ballot at their respective polling places from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. They include school boards, municipal offices, the county board of commissioners and row offices.
Some of the most notable races are:
- Three open seats on the York County Board of Commissioners
- York County sheriff
- A judge on the Court of Common Pleas
This year's municipal elections are special in two ways. For one, the county is debuting its new voting machines that utilize paper ballots.
Voters also will vote on a constitutional amendment known as Marcy's Law, which would give crime victims the right to be notified about, attend and weigh in during plea hearings, sentencings and parole proceedings.
However, vote tallies will not be immediately counted, as the law is being challenged in Commonwealth Court through an injunction by the state's American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania chapter.
Before you vote, here are answers to some commonly asked questions:
Where do I go to vote?
Your ward and precinct are marked on your voter registration card. To find your respective polling place, go to the county website or check this up-to-date interactive map.
What will the ballot look like?
If you want to know what to expect the ballot to look like at your polling location, you can find it on the county's website.
Do I need to bring any form of identification?
Some form of identification is required to vote in many states, but Pennsylvania is not one of them. However, those voting for the first time in their election district must show ID, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State. Acceptable photo IDs include a state-issued driver's license, U.S. passport, military ID, student ID or any ID issued by a federal or state agency. Acceptable nonphoto IDs include a voter registration card, firearm permit, utility bill, bank statement or government check. If using a nonphoto ID, it must contain your address.
Can I wear clothing/accessories supporting candidates or parties?
Voters are allowed to wear things such as T-shirts, hats and pins that show support for candidates or parties, which is not the case in some other states.
What should I do if I feel I'm being intimidated at the polls?
It is illegal for any person or corporation to influence a voter through intimidation or coercion in the state, according to the Department of State. Anyone who feels intimidated at the polls is encouraged to contact the county board of elections at 717-771-9604 or to file a complaint through the department's website.
The only people allowed inside polling places are election officials, clerks, machine inspectors, certified poll watchers, residents in the process of voting, people legally giving assistance to voters and police officers. Those who do not fit into these categories must remain at least 10 feet away from the entrance.
Can someone challenge my right to vote?
Certain people can challenge a person's right to vote for certain reasons, according to the Department of State. A poll worker, certified poll watcher or another registered voter may challenge a voter on the grounds that they do not live in the precinct or are not who they say they are. A voter who is challenged may still vote, however, by signing a challenge affidavit and producing a witness to vouch for him or her. If your name is not included in the poll book and you believe this is a mistake, you can vote via a provisional ballot, which is a paper ballot that will be counted if it is determined that you were correct.
What if I need assistance because of a disability or have difficulty understanding English?
Assistance is allowed in Pennsylvania for voters who can't read or write, have difficulty understanding English or who are blind or disabled, according to the department. Assistance may be requested of a friend, relative, neighbor or another voter, and you don't need to be designated as "assistance permitted" in your district's poll book to receive assistance. However, if you're not listed as "assistance permitted" in the book, you must sign an assistance declaration.
What if I'm having trouble with casting my ballot or other aspects of the voting process?
For some issues, simply speaking with the poll worker at your polling location would suffice. You also can call the York County Voting and Elections Office at 717-771-9604.
— Logan Hullinger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.