MERCER COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA
2015 Election Survival Guide...
… OR (ALMOST) EVERYTHING AN INFORMED VOTER NEEDS TO KNOW!
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- Election Dates:
- Primary – May 19, 2015
- Municipal – November 3, 2015
- Voting Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Educate yourself as to what offices are on the ballot. This year you will see the following:
- Statewide: Appellate level judicial offices (three Supreme Court, one Superior Court and one Commonwealth Court)
- Countywide: Commissioners (three seats), Clerk of Courts, Coroner, District Attorney, Prothonotary, Recorder and Sheriff.
- County Judicial: Common Pleas Court (one retention) and Magisterial District Judge (three seats)
- Municipal and School District: Mayor, Council, Supervisor, Constables and other municipal offices, and School Directors.
- Voter ID: The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania struck down in January, 2014, the in-person photo identification portion of the Voter ID Law that was passed by the General Assembly in 2012 that would require 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 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 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 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 Feb. 17, 2015. The last day to circulate and file a petition is March 10, 2015. Packets for local candidates will be available in the county’s election office beginning Feb. 11, 2015. 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 11, 2015. The last day to circulate and file nominating papers is Aug. 3, 2015. Packets for local candidates will be available in the county’s election office beginning March 11, 2015.
- Voter Registration Deadlines:
- Primary – April 20, 2015
- Municipal – October 5, 2015
- 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 May 12, 2015, and the ballot must be returned to the election office by 5 p.m. May 15, 2015.
- The deadline to apply for a regular absentee ballot for the general election is Oct. 27, 2015, and the ballot must be returned to the election office by 5 p.m. Oct. 30, 2015.
- 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.