2020 Election Frequently Asked Questions
Find questions and answers regarding many different topics here.
The deadline to apply to register to vote for the upcoming Presidential Election (on November 3rd) is Monday, October 19th. This is also the deadline for a voter to change their name, address and/or party affiliation.
All forms must physically be submitted by this date as postmarks do not count. If your application is received after that date, it will be processed for the 2021 Municipal Primary in May.
Once the registration application is processed, each voter will receive a voter registration card in the mail which will notate the location of their polling place. Voters can access the application by visiting www.votespa.com.
Individuals are no longer purged due to non-voting. To search for your voter registration status (active or inactive), your party affiliation, or your polling place address, log onto the SURE Public Portal at www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us or call the Voter Registration Office at (717) 261-3886 during business hours.
Any questions concerning registering to vote should be directed to the Voter Registration Office at (717) 261-3886 or the Franklin County Election Board at (717) 261-3810.
To search for your voter registration status (Active or Inactive), your party affiliation, or your polling place address, log onto the SURE Public Portal at www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us or call the Voter Registration Office at (717) 261-3886 during business hours.
A recent decision handed down by the PA Supreme Court in the PA Democratic Party et al v. Boockvar et al holds that an absentee or mail-in elector’s failure to enclose a ballot in a secrecy envelope renders the ballot invalid and it will NOT be counted. Voters receiving either an absentee or mail-in ballot are strongly urged to ensure placement of their voted ballot in the envelope marked “Official Election Ballot” before placing it in the outer envelope that includes the Voter’s Declaration on the back. Voters are also required to sign the declaration envelope because failure to do so is also considered a fatal defect and the ballot will NOT be counted. Under the signature block, there is a line asking for the current date. If a voter inserts their birth date by accident, this would not cause their ballot to be declared invalid.
Saturday Hours for Ballot Pickup/Drop Off – On Saturday, October 24th the Voter Registration Office located on the First Floor of the Historic Courthouse, 2 North Main Street, Chambersburg will be open for business from 9 am – 3 pm. Voters will be able to apply for an absentee/mail-in ballot on this date or bring their voted ballot back in-person. The deadline to apply for a ballot is Tuesday, October 27th and the deadline to return the ballot in-person is 8:00 pm on Election Day. Ballots will also be counted if they are postmarked by November 3rd and received by the County no later than Friday, November 6th.
Saturday Hours for Drive-thru Ballot Drop Off – Voters can conveniently deliver their voted ballots back to the County in-person. We will be hosting a drive-thru event on Saturday, October 31st from 9 am – 3 pm at the rear of the Historic Courthouse under the catwalk connecting it to the Courthouse Annex (this is also referred to as Central Avenue). Voters will be able to pull into the alley, present their voted ballot to election staff to confirm everything is in order, and then have the ballot deposited into a secured ballot box.
If a voter has a disability and is unable to pick-up or deliver their absentee or mail-in application or voted ballot, they may designate an agent to do so on their behalf. The voter must complete a “Designated Agent Authorization Form” which can be found on the County’s website or by contacting the County Board of Elections Office at (717) 261-3812.
Voters are now able to come and apply for a ballot in person. A ballot will be issued on the spot and the voter can choose to vote it there or take it home and vote it at a later time.
The County is pleased to announce some important changes that will aid voters in accessing the Voter Registration Office:
- Temporary parking (15 minute limit) along Lincoln Way East beside the Historic Courthouse will be permitted until the election thanks to approval by the Chambersburg Borough Council at their September 14th meeting.
- A temporary modification is made to the court’s cell phone policy for individuals dropping off ballots. Voters with a cell phone will not be turned away upon entering the Historic Courthouse as long as they are only visiting the Voter Registration Office and do not have court business.
Under current law, we are not able to begin precanvassing the absentee and mail-in ballots until 7:00 am on election morning. During precanvassing, ballot envelopes are opened and the ballots are back folded so that the ballots are flattened so they can be fed through a central scanner to count the votes. We are not permitted to start counting/canvassing these ballots until after 8:00 pm election day. Given the huge amount of ballots, we are anticipating it may take several days to process and count the absentee and mail-in ballots.
Voted ballots must be received in-person by the County no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3rd or placed in the mail to be postmarked Nov. 3rd. These ballots will be counted as long as they are received by the County no later than Friday, Nov. 6th.
When returning a ballot by mail, please allow three (3) days for local delivery and 4-5 days for longer distances.
A voter is not required to completely match the name on their voter registration file. For example, the middle name or initial does not need to be included since we can confirm a voter’s status based on their birthdate or other identifying information.
A voter who desires to vote by absentee ballot or mail-in ballot must complete an application and submit it to their County Board of Elections in one of the following ways:
1. Apply online at https://www.votespa.com/ApplyAbsentee. (Voter must have a PA Driver’s License or PA Identification Card to use this option.)
2. Download and print a PDF application and send it to the address listed below. Applications in both English and Spanish can be found at the County’s website or the state’s website at https://www.votespa.com/ApplyAbsentee.
3. Voters may request an absentee or mail-in ballot application by calling 717-261-3812.
All applications can be mailed to:
Voter Registration Office
157 Lincoln Way East
Chambersburg, PA 17201
or faxed to (717) 261-3131
All applications must be completed, signed by the elector, and received by the Franklin County Voter Registration Office no later than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27th. There are provisions made for individuals that need an emergency ballot after the Tuesday before the election. Contact the Franklin County Voter Registration Office at 717-261-3886 for additional details.
While the mail-in ballot provision is brand new this year, Franklin County has had absentee balloting available for many, many years and have had no reports of fraudulent activity. The Voter Registration Office verifies each application by checking either the voter’s social security information or driver’s license information. Once the ballot is received back, the voter’s signature is compared to the one we have on file. All applications and ballots are processed in Franklin County locally by dedicated, trustworthy staff who make it their top priority to insure every allowable ballot is counted.
Franklin County’s goal was to mail out ballots to those who have submitted an application no later than the week of September 28th, however a pending lawsuit delayed this process state-wide. Ballots are now being mailed out on a daily basis as applications are processed.
Voters have until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27th, to apply for their ballot. Keep in mind that once Voter Registration receives an application, a ballot has to be mailed to the voter, voted and then returned to Voter Registration by mail or in person. For this reason voters are encouraged to not wait until the last minute. Voters can access the online application at www.votespa.com.
A voter now has the option to request to be added to an annual mail-in ballot request list by checking the designated box under Item #7 on the application. Once your application is approved, you will automatically receive ballots for the remainder of that year without submitting a new application request form. You will also receive an application to renew your mail-in ballot request each year thereafter.
In order to vote a regular ballot at the polls after receiving a mail-in ballot, the voter will need to take their mail-in ballot and declaration envelope to the polling place to be voided. At that time, the voter will be provided a regular ballot that they can vote and scan into the precinct counter.
IMPORTANT: A voter who applies for an absentee ballot or mail-in ballot is not eligible to vote at a polling place on Election Day, except by provisional ballot UNLESS they surrender their ballot and declaration envelope. The pollworkers will then spoil the absentee/mail-in ballot and allow the voter to cast a regular ballot.
Yes, but first you will need to complete and return a Request to Cancel Absentee or Mail-in Ballot Status form. This form can be found at the following link: https://www.votespa.com/Resources/Documents/PADOS_PermStatusCancellationForm.pdf.
Once receiving an absentee or mail-in ballot in the mail, the voter should mark their ballot as soon as possible and return it, either by mail or in-person. Some important things to remember when voting absentee or mail-in ballots:
- Blacken the ovals completely using a Medium Point Black Pen, if possible.
- Fold the ballot and place in the smaller secrecy envelope marked “OFFICIAL ELECTION BALLOT.” Failure to perform this step will disqualify your ballot per the Supreme Court’s ruling last week.
- Place the smaller secrecy envelope into the larger one and then fill out, date and SIGN the “Absentee/Mail-in Voter’s Declaration” on the back of the envelope. Failure to sign the declaration will cause your ballot to not be counted.
If a voter wishes to return their ballot in-person, only the actual voter may hand deliver the ballot. The only exception is if a voter with a disability designates in writing an agent to deliver the ballot on their behalf.
A voter must complete Section C on the Application for Absentee Ballot (online application here) which requires a physician’s signature. Once you are on this list, you will have an absentee ballot application mailed to you by the first Monday in February each year. If you complete and return the application, the county will send you ballots in the mail for all the elections that take place that year, as well as for any special election held through the third Monday of February of the next year.
Military and Overseas Civilians must submit a Federal Post Card Application by going to www.fvap.gov.
There are two locations where a voter can hand deliver their voted ballot in-person. Per election law, each voter is required to return their own ballot and cannot deliver one for their spouse, child, etc. These two County offices are open Monday-Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Franklin County will not be utilizing drop boxes due to safety and security concerns.
1. Franklin County Voter Registration Office
Old Courthouse on Memorial Square, 1st Floor
2 North Main Street
Chambersburg, PA 17201
2. Franklin County Commissioners’ Office/County Board of Elections
(across from the Corpus Christi Church)
340 North Second Street
Chambersburg, PA 17201
At this time, Franklin County is not planning on utilizing drop boxes due to security concerns.
Polls in Franklin County will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. Registered voters who are in line at 8:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote.
There are seventy-three (73) polling places in Franklin County and you need to go to the polling place assigned to you based on your residence address. Check your registration card for the polling place location or log onto the SURE Public Portal at www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us. This website will also provide directions from your home to your polling place.
As a result of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), if you are voting in an election district for the first time, you will be asked to present an approved form of identification before you sign the pollbook.
Approved forms of identification include:
Photo Identification (Must be Valid):
- PA Driver’s License or ID Card issued by PennDOT
- ID issued by U.S. Government
- ID issued by any Commonwealth of Pennsylvania agency
- U.S. Passport
- U.S. Armed Forces ID
- Student ID
- Employee ID
Non-Photo Identification (Must include your name and address):
- Voter Identification Card issued by the Voter Registration Commission
- Non-Photo ID issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
- Non-Photo ID issued by the U.S. Government
- Firearm Permit
- Current bank statement
- Current utility bill
- Current paycheck
- Government check
Once you have provided approved identification, you will be asked to sign your name in the pollbook and be allowed to vote if the signature is found to be authentic.
If you are unable or unwilling to provide one of the above approved forms of ID, then you may vote by a provisional ballot. To find additional information that would be helpful for first time voters, view the Votes Pa website at www.votespa.com (Voting in PA - First Time Voters).
No other voter will be asked to produce an ID since the Commonwealth Court ruled that the photo identification provision for voting purposes for all voters to be unconstitutional.
All polling places are considered handicapped accessible.
The Franklin County Election Board reminds all voters that NO electioneering is allowed within the polling place. This includes the display of candidate names on buttons, signs, or clothing within the polling place as well as items advocating a political party, etc. Voters will be asked to remove the item or to cover it up before receiving a ballot.
Voters appearing at the polling place will see a sign on the door of the polling place reminding them of three requests: 1) Bring own blue or black ink pen, 2) Wear a facemask and 3) Practice social distancing. We are strongly urging all voters to follow this safety protocol. If a voter does not have an ink pen or facemask, the pollworkers will provide them one, upon request. Hand sanitizer will also be available for the voters’ use.
Voters may also notice other changes at their polling place including different entrance and exit doors, no curtains on the voting booths, no access to the restrooms, different layouts to accommodate social distancing as well as the use of tabletop privacy dividers.
Pollworkers have been provided a Pollworker Protection Kit that includes facemasks, faceshields, gloves, hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes and floor marking tape. They will also be provided with plexiglass sneeze guards.
All polling places in Franklin County will be open for in-person voting on June 2nd. The Franklin County Election Board made the decision to not consolidate polling places unless absolutely necessary. There has been one change to a polling place location for the upcoming November 3rd election – Lurgan Township voters will once again be voting at the Lurgan Lion’s Club, 13978 Cumberland Highway, Roxbury. Registered voters affected by this change in location will receive a postcard notice in the mail.
The Election Code states that those individuals or candidates that are campaigning must remain at least ten (10) feet distant from the entrance of the polling place during the progress of the voting.
No person is allowed to receive assistance in voting unless his/her registration record indicates the need for assistance or the voter completes and signs a declaration of the need for assistance at the polling place prior to entering the voting booth. A voter may select anyone to assist them EXCEPT: 1) The Judge of Elections; 2) The voter’s employer or agent of that employer; or 3) An officer or agent of the voter’s union.
Also, each polling place will have a lighted magnifier w/ bifocal lens available to assist those voters who may have trouble reading their ballot.
Our goal is to have ALL seventy-three (73) polling places in Franklin County open for those who wish to cast their ballot in-person. The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
As a result of Act 77, voters will no longer have a shortcut option to vote straight party. Voters will need to vote for the candidate of their choice for each of the offices listed on the ballot if they so choose. Failure to vote for every office will not cause the precinct scanner to alert the voter since undervoting is permissible.
Check the local newspapers or contact either the Franklin County Democratic Committee (717-530-1662) or the Franklin County Republican Party (717-263-7999) for information.
For information on voting in Franklin County, you may watch an online demo and/or instructional video on voting an optical scan ballot using a DS200 Precinct Counter at the following website – www.votespa.com (Voting in PA – Voting Systems Demos – Franklin County). We also have an assistive marking device for the blind or visually impaired in each polling place that is called an ExpressVote and a demo of this machine can be viewed at this website as well.
All voter registration questions should be directed to the Franklin County Voter Registration Office at (717) 261-3886. All election related questions should be directed to the Franklin County Election Board at (717) 261-3810.
All forms can be obtained by contacting either the Voter Registration Office at (717) 261-3886 or the County Board of Elections at (717) 261-3818.
Registered voters will be voting for the following offices: President of the United States, Attorney General, Auditor General, State Treasurer, Representative in Congress, Senator in the General Assembly-33rd Senatorial District, and Representative in the General Assembly – 78th, 82nd, 89th & 90th Legislative Districts. There is also a Liquor Referendum Question on the ballots in St. Thomas Township. A sample ballot is available on the County’s website at www.franklincountypa.gov or may be obtained from the Franklin County Commissioners’ Office, 340 North Second Street, Chambersburg beginning on Thursday, October 29th.
Please visit the Voter and Election Information page on www.franklincountypa.gov for more information regarding the 2020 General Election on November 3rd.