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Here's what York County residents need to know ahead of Election Day

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
A voter casts her ballot at the drop box at the York County Administrative Center Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. County employees checked voters ballot to make sure they were submitted correctly. Bill Kalina photo

The 2020 presidential election on Nov. 3 will be historic in Pennsylvania, with millions of voters casting mail-in ballots ahead of time amid a worldwide pandemic.

But even with so many Pennsylvanians having already voted, there's still information that others may need as they head to the polls Tuesday. 

The deadline for requesting mail-in ballots has passed, and about 65% of the more than 3 million requested had been returned as of Wednesday. 

In an effort to make sure the remaining ballots arrive on time, state officials now are urging voters to drop off their mail-in ballots at their respective county elections offices in person instead of mailing them.

“At this point we are not recommending that anybody put their ballots in the mail, just drop it off in person," Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said Wednesday. "We really recommend that you drop it off in person.”

Voter registration graphic

For those who plan to vote in person, polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. In-person voters are encouraged to wear masks at the polls. 

There could be some relief this election in regards to long wait times, as the sheer number of voters using mail-in ballots could mean fewer people at polling locations.

But it is also possible lines will still be a factor on Tuesday, Boockvar said, because of those who may need to use a provisional ballot.

This year, that could especially be a factor because of those who were issued a mail-in ballot but decided to instead vote in person. In that scenario, they can surrender their mail-in ballots at their polling site.

If they do not do so, they will have to fill out a provisional ballot. Depending on how many individuals face that situation, lines of people having to fill out those ballots could form, Boockvar warned.

Atop this year's ballot is the White House race between Republican President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump's Democratic challenger. 

York County employee Tina Blessing talks with Chuck Goodhart of Spring Grove before he drops-off his ballot at the York County Administration Center Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

In Cumberland, York and Dauphin counties specifically, voters will also have a say in what is expected to be one of the most hotly contested congressional races in the country.

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is facing off with U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Carroll Township, in the 10th Congressional District race, one that's been tight throughout, according to most polls. The 10th District includes the northern part of York County, a portion of Cumberland County and all of Dauphin County. 

In the 11th District, which includes the southern part of York County and all of Lancaster County, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster, is running for reelection against Democratic challenger Sarah Hammond.

In York City, incumbent state Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, the only York County Democrat in the state Legislature, is being challenged by Republican Kacey French, president of CorrellGreen, a local architectural consulting and design company, for the 95th Legislative District seat. The district covers York City, West York, Spring Garden Township and portions of West Manchester Township. 

In addition, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Adams, is competing with Democrat Rich Sterner, a former school principal and member of the Bermudian Springs school board, in the state Senate's 33rd District. The district includes the southwestern corner of York County as well as all of Adams County and portions of Cumberland and Franklin counties. 

Incumbent Republican Rep. Dawn Keefer, of Franklin Township, is running for reelection against Doug Ross, the owner of Newberry Storage, in the 92nd Legislative District. The district represents Dillsburg, Franklintown, Goldsboro, Lewisberry and Wellsville boroughs; Carroll, Fairview, Franklin, Monaghan, Newberry, Warrington and Washington townships; and a portion of Cumberland County. 

Finally, incumbent Sen. Mike Regan, R-Dillsburg, is running for reelection against Democrat Shanna Danielson, a fifth-grade band teacher at Cumberland Valley School District, in the state Senate's 31st District. The district includes parts of Cumberland and northern York counties.

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions that may pertain to your voting experience:

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 York 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 non-photo IDs include a voter registration card, firearm permit, utility bill, bank statement or government check. A non-photo ID must contain your address to be valid.

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 and people legally giving assistance to voters. 

Can someone challenge my right to vote?

Certain people can challenge a person's right to vote for certain reasons, according to the state 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 lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.