MERCER COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA
2014 Election Survival Guide...
… OR (ALMOST) EVERYTHING AN INFORMED VOTER NEEDS TO KNOW!
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- Election Dates:
- Primary – May 20, 2014
- General – November 4, 2014
- 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:
- Federal races: U.S. Representative
- Statewide races: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Senator in the General Assembly and Representative in the General Assembly
- Countywide races: Member of the State Democratic and Republican Committees (winners decided in primary).
- Precinct-level races: Democratic and Republican Committeeman and Committeewoman (winners decided in primary).
- Redistricting or re-apportionment occurred at the federal and state levels and will affect voters’ ballots in many precincts.
- As in 2012, all of Mercer County will vote in the 3rd Congressional District.
- All of Mercer County will continue to vote in the 50th State Senate District.
- There were many changes to the State House Districts in the county.
- The following municipalities vote in the 7th State House District: Cities of Farrell, Hermitage and Sharon; Townships of Lackawannock, Pymatuning, Shenango, South Pymatuning and West Salem; and Boroughs of Clark, Greenville, Sharpsville, West Middlesex and Wheatland.
- The following municipalities vote in the 8th State House District: Townships of Coolspring, Deer Creek, Fairview, Findley, French Creek, Jackson, Lake, Liberty, Mill Creek, New Vernon, Perry, Pine, Sandy Creek, Sandy Lake, Springfield, Wolf Creek and Worth; and Boroughs of Fredonia, Grove City, Jackson Center, Mercer, New Lebanon, Sandy Lake, Sheakleyville and Stoneboro.
- The following municipalities vote in the 17th State House District: Townships of Delaware, East Lackawannock, Greene, Hempfield, Jefferson, Otter Creek, Salem, Sugar Grove and Wilmington; and Borough of Jamestown.
- Voter ID: The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania struck down in January the in-person photo identification portion of the Voter ID Law that was passed by the General Assembly in 2012 that would have required all voters to show some form of photo ID at the polls. Those voting for the first time in a new precinct, however, are required to show some form of ID, but it can be anyone of a dozen valid photo or non-photo IDs under the current law.
- 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, 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.
- Mercer County 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.
- ALL voters in line at 8 p.m. – even if that line stretches outside the building and down the street – 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. The Judge should assign a poll worker to mark the last person who was IN LINE at 8 p.m.
- 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. 18, 2014. The last day to circulate and file a petition is March 11, 2014. Packets for local candidates will be available in the county’s election office beginning Feb. 12, 2014. Only committee candidates will pick up packets at the Mercer County Courthouse. All others will need to get them from the Department of State in Harrisburg and file them there.
- The first day to circulate and file nominating papers for minor party and independent candidates is March 12, 2014. The last day to circulate and file nominating papers is Aug. 1, 2014. Packets for those candidates will be available from the Department of State in Harrisburg and must be filed there.
- Voter Registration Deadlines:
- Primary – April 21, 2014
- General – October 6, 2014
- 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.
- 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 most 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 13, 2014, and the ballot must be returned to the election office by 5 p.m. May 16, 2014.
- The deadline to apply for a regular absentee ballot for the general election is Oct. 28, 2014, and the ballot must be returned to the election office by 5 p.m. Oct. 31, 2014.
- 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.