October 07, 2020
NEW PROCEDURES AND LAWS IN PLACE FOR NOV. 3rd ELECTION
“Naked” Ballots – 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.
Ballot Drop Off Locations - If a voter wishes to return their ballot in-person, only the actual voter may hand deliver the ballot unless the voter is disabled and authorizes a designated agent to return their ballot. While Franklin County will not be utilizing drop boxes due to security concerns, there are two locations available to return voted ballots, Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm:
1) Franklin County Voter Registration Office
Historic Courthouse, Memorial Square
2 North Main Street, First Floor
2) Franklin County Commissioners’ Office/County Board of Elections
340 North Second Street
(across from Corpus Christi Church)
Look for the “Ballot Drop Off Location” signs outside each of these offices to help identify the correct drop off location.
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.
Authorization of a Designated Agent for those with Disabilities - 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.
No Straight Party Option - 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.
One Polling Place Change - All polling places in Franklin County will be open for in-person voting on November 3rd. There has been one change to a polling place location for the upcoming 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.
No Numbered Stub - Due to newly passed legislation, voters will no longer receive a numbered stub receipt to take with them after voting. Eliminating this stub, which caused issues with the precinct scanner, will greatly reduce the amount of spoiled ballots on Election Day. The voter will know that their ballot counted when they insert their ballot into the precinct scanner and see a flag on the screen with a message stating that their ballot has been counted and thanking them for voting.
COVID Precautions at Polling Places - 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 poll workers 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.
Poll workers have been provided a Poll worker Protection Kit that includes facemasks, face shields, gloves, hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes and floor marking tape. They will also be issued plexiglass sneeze guards.
Absentee/Mail-in Ballots & In-person Election Day Voting -
1) If you receive an absentee or mail-in ballot and return your voted ballot to the County, you may not vote at your polling place on Election Day.
2) If you receive an absentee or mail-in ballot and take it with you to your polling place, you may surrender your absentee or mail-in ballot AND declaration envelope to the Judge of Elections to be voided. Upon completion of a declaration form, the voter will be given a regular ballot to vote and scan into the precinct counter.
3) If you are unable to return your voted absentee or mail-in ballot by the deadline and do not take it with you to your polling place, you may only vote by provisional ballot on Election Day. This will ensure that a voter does not vote more than once since staff will not count the provisional ballot before confirming that the absentee or mail-in ballot was not received.
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