MERCER COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA
2016 Election Survival Guide...
… OR (ALMOST) EVERYTHING AN INFORMED VOTER NEEDS TO KNOW!
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- Election Dates:
- Primary – April 26, 2016
- General – November 8, 2016
- Voting Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Educate yourself as to what offices are on the ballot in 2016:
- Federal races: President of the United States, U.S. Senator, and U.S. Representative, National Delegates and Alternate Delegates for 3rd Congressional District
- Statewide races: Attorney General, Auditor General and State Treasurer
- State-level races: Representative in the General Assembly
- Countywide races: None
- Municipal races: None
- School board races: None
- Precinct-level races: Republican Committeeman and Committeewoman (winners decided in primary)
- Voter ID. Those voting for the first time in a new precinct 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 and listed here: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=1174125&parentname=ObjMgr&parentid=29&mode=2
- Haven’t used the county’s touch screen voting system before? No problem. A 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 just before each election 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 can 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 – 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 Jan. 26, 2016. The last day to circulate and file a petition is Feb. 16, 2016. Packets for local candidates will be available in the county’s election office beginning Jan. 22, 2016. 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 Feb. 17, 2016. The last day to circulate and file nominating papers is Aug. 1, 2016. Packets for local candidates will be available in the county’s election office beginning Feb. 17, 2016.
- Voter Registration Deadlines:
- Primary – March 28, 2016
- General – October 11, 2016
- 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. Voter registration mail applications can be downloaded at: http://www.votespa.com.
- If you have any question about your voting status, call 724-662-7542.
- 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, the courthouse and online at http://www.votespa.com.
- The deadline to apply for a regular absentee ballot for the primary is April 19, 2016, and the ballot must be returned to the election office by 5 p.m. April 22, 2016.
- The deadline to apply for a regular absentee ballot for the general election is Nov. 1, 2016, and the ballot must be returned to the election office by 5 p.m. Nov. 4, 2016.
- 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.