MERCER COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA
2013 Election Survival Guide...
… OR (ALMOST) EVERYTHING AN INFORMED VOTER NEEDS TO KNOW!
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- Election Dates:
- Primary – May 21, 2013
- Municipal – November 5, 2013
- Voting Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Key word: PATIENCE
- Educate yourself as to what offices are on the ballot. This year you will see the following:
- Statewide: Supreme Court – 2 retentions; and Superior Court – one vacancy and two retentions (retentions appear only on November ballot and this list is unofficial until certified by the State on Feb. 19)
- Countywide: Controller, Treasurer and Jury Commissioners
- County Judicial: Common Pleas Court (one vacancy and one retention) and Magisterial District Judge (one seat)
- Municipal and School District: Mayors, Council, Supervisors and other municipal offices, and School Directors.
- Poll workers: Judges of Elections, Majority Inspectors and Minority Inspectors
- Voter ID: The General Assembly passed a Voter ID law in 2012 that would require all voters to show some form of photo ID at the polls, but the
law is currently being litigated in the the state appellate courts and is
not currently being enforced. At this moment, however, voters will be asked
to show a photo ID. If the voter cannot present one, the poll worker will
hand them a copy of an informational handout and then let the voter cast a
regular ballot as long as they are legally registered.
- Haven’t used the county’s touch screen voting system before? No problem. A voting tutorial is linked at the county’s Web site at www.mcc.co.mercer.pa.us. Click on Voter Registration/Elections and then link to View ESS iVotronic. Or visit the election office at the courthouse for an opportunity to get your hands on a machine.
- Expect lines at certain times of the day, especially first thing in the morning, around lunch time and then after dinner. The shortest waits usually occur mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
- Pennsylvania law allows candidates and campaigners to electioneer, pass out campaign materials and talk to you as long as they are 10 feet from the polling room. There is nothing, however, that requires you to answer them or take their materials. But if you do take any campaign literature, please DO NOT leave it in the polling place. You MUST have a clear path to the polling room and if you believe campaigners are impeding or blocking that path, please inform a poll worker.
- Voters are permitted to wear political attire into the polling place. Voters cannot, however, do or say anything beyond simply wearing the item or they will be asked to leave. Poll workers and poll watchers are not permitted to wear political attire.
- Electronic recording or photo devices are not permitted to be used in precincts.
- ALL voters IN LINE at 8 p.m. – even if that line stretches outside the building – are permitted by law to vote. If you are NOT IN LINE at 8 p.m. when the Judge of Elections announces the polls are closed, you are NOT allowed to vote.
- Election returns will be posted as they arrive at the courthouse on the county’s Web site at www.mcc.co.mercer.pa.us.
PETITION INFORMATION FOR CANDIDATES
- The first day to circulate and file a petition for Republicans and Democrats is Feb. 19, 2013. The last day to circulate and file a petition is March 12, 2013. Packets for local candidates will be available in the election office beginning Feb. 13, 2013.
- The first day to circulate and file nominating papers for minor party and independent candidates is March 13, 2013. The last day to circulate and file nominating papers is Aug. 1, 2013. Packets for those candidates will be available in the county’s election office beginning March 13, 2013.
- Voter Registration Deadlines:
- Primary – April 22, 2013
- General – October 7, 2013
- If you have moved since you last voted, you need to register at your current address. If your name has changed as a result of marital status or some other reason, you need to register under your new name. Fill out and submit a new Voter Registration Mail Application which can be found at www.votespa.com.
- If you haven’t voted in more than five years, there is a good chance your voting status has been made inactive or canceled. If you are inactive, you can vote but you are required to show a proper form of identification and sign an affirmation.
- If you have been canceled, you must register again.
- If you have any question about your voting status, it’s worth the time needed to check on it. Stop in the election office at the courthouse or call us at 724-662-7542. Our hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.
- If you are going to be out of the precinct on Election Day or you have an illness or disability that prevents you from going to the polls, you can vote by absentee ballot. Absentee ballot applications are available at many post offices, municipal buildings and libraries in the county, as well as online at the county’s Web site or by calling the election office.
- The deadline to apply for a regular absentee ballot for the primary is May 14, 2013, and the ballot must be returned to the election office by 5 p.m. May 17, 2013. The deadline to apply for a regular absentee ballot for the general election is Oct. 29, 2013, and the ballot must be returned to the election office by 5 p.m. Nov. 1, 2013.
- You can check your polling place location online at the county’s Web site: www.mcc.co.mercer.pa.us. Click on Voter Registration/Elections at left and look for a link to polling locations. There are also precinct maps.