Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging today encouraged older adults to be informed about their options for voting in the November 3 General Election if they are concerned about being able to vote safely amid COVID-19.
"The Department of Aging urges older Pennsylvanians to keep their health and well-being in mind however they choose to cast their ballot in November," Sec. of Aging Robert Torres said. "The older adult population consistently votes more often than any other age group, and the turnout for the upcoming election may likely be no different. Therefore, it is important that they are able to vote without putting themselves at risk."
"The coronavirus may have put large parts of our lives on hold, but there's one event it won't delay – the 2020 election," said AARP Pennsylvania State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh. "At AARP, we're fighting to protect 50+ voters and ensure they can vote safely from home or in-person."
Torres noted that if older adults are opting to vote by mail-in ballot, they should apply for one as soon as possible at votesPA.com.
Here are some guidelines for voting by mail-in ballot:
- Read the ballot and instructions carefully.
- Pay attention to where you place your pen. Don't rest it on the ballot as it could potentially make an unintended mark somewhere and the tabulator will not read it correctly, or the pen could accidentally mark a candidate for whom you didn't want to vote.
- Return the ballot by mail or in person to your county Board of Elections or officially designated drop-off site as soon as possible.
- Be sure to place your ballot in the inner secrecy envelope and then put the secrecy envelope into the outer return envelope, which you must sign. County election officials will not count your ballot if it is returned without both envelopes. Be sure to sign the declaration on the outer envelope so the ballot will be counted.
In addition, Pennsylvania voters now have the option of voting in person at their county election office before election day. Just go to your county election office, request a ballot, fill it out and submit it – all in the same visit.
For older Pennsylvanians who are looking to vote at their polling place on Election Day, the polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wear a mask, bring your own pen and follow social distancing guidelines. The Pennsylvania Department of State is supplying counties with masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, floor marking tape and other supplies for polling places so Pennsylvanians can safely exercise their right to vote during this COVID-19 emergency.
Older adults can check the status of their voter registration by visiting votespa.com or by calling 877-VOTESPA (868-3772). Pennsylvania law now allows residents to register to vote up to 15 days before an Election Day. The deadline to register to vote in the November election is Oct. 19. Absentee and mail-in ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on election day.
Learn more about the various programs offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging here.
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