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League: Voters Will See New Mail-In Ballots

By Danielle M. Smith - Public News Service
The Tube City Almanac
March 01, 2024
Posted in: Politics & Elections

This photo from the Bucks County, Pa., elections division shows the new yellow secrecy ballot that will be supplied to all Pennsylvania voters for the April primary. (Bucks County, Pa., official photo)

Learn more about mail-in and absentee ballots in Pennsylvania

With Pennsylvania’s primary election less than 60 days away, a nonpartisan group is stepping up the pace to educate people on voting by mail and by absentee ballot.

A redesigned mail-in ballot will debut statewide in April for more than 8 million registered voters.

The ballot materials are barcoded, so no individual voter can be identified, said Jessica Myers, who co-chairs the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania’s voter services. The new ballot also has graphics and updated instructions to help voters understand the mail-in process.

“The secrecy envelope has a yellow background with sort of a blue-gray colored watermark that says ‘Official Secrecy Ballot,’” Myers said. “There are some additional color coding and instructions on the outside of the envelope, including where the voters declaration is. It’s prefilled with a ‘2-0’ so that we have fewer people writing in their birthdates.”

Myers added that voters are encouraged to write the date that they voted on the ballot before putting it in the mail or a dropbox.

Pennsylvanians must be registered voters to request a mail-in ballot. The deadline to register to vote is April 8, and requests for mail-in ballots have to be received by April 16. After it's filled out and mailed by the voter, the ballot must be received by 8 p.m. EDT on Election Day.

Amy Widestrom, the league’s Pennsylvania executive director, said voting integrity is a top priority, and contended that the election process in Pennsylvania is secure. In previous elections, she added, analyses of more than 31 million ballots cast found no significant incidence of voter fraud.

“I think (only) 21 were found,” Widestrom said. “The bulk of those were errors. People just thought they were voting in the right place, but weren’t. There were only five incidences of actual attempted voter fraud out of 31 million cast ballots. So, voter fraud is typically not an issue.”

Widestrom added that voters are not permanently on mail-in or absentee ballot lists — to stay on that list for the year, residents must return the application form.

If they don’t, then a voter has to request a mail-in or absentee ballot for each specific election. The League of Women Voters also has a website at Vote 411.org here people can look at a sample ballot before they head to the polls or mail in their ballot.

Important Elections Office Information:

Allegheny County Division of Elections
County Office Building
542 Forbes Ave., Rm 312
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
(412) 350-4500

Washington County Board of Elections
Crossroads Center
95 W. Beau St., Ste G-10
Washington, PA 15301
(724) 228-6750

Westmoreland County Elections Bureau
2 N. Main St., Ste 109
Greensburg, PA 15601
(724) 830-3150

Danielle M. Smith is a producer for Public News Service, where this story first appeared. An award-winning radio journalist/personality with more than a decade of experience in broadcast media, she is a former audio journalist with American Urban Radio Networks and Sheridan Broadcasting Networks who also hosts a weekly community affairs show “Good News” on WGBN (1360 AM/98.9 FM).

Originally published March 01, 2024.

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