Centre County Elections

FAQs

Find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions below. If you still need help, please visit our Contact Us page.

Registering to Vote

What is the deadline to register to vote in Centre County?

Monday, October 19, 2020 is the last day to register to vote for the 2020 General Election.

You can register to vote online here.

Or you can download a blank voter registration form here and mail it to the Centre County Elections Office. The completed form must be received by Monday, October 19, 2020. Postmarks do not count.

I’ve moved. How do I change my address?

You can update your Centre County residence address by re-registering online or by submitting a paper voter registration application.

How do I change my political party preference?

You can update your Centre County residence address by re-registering online or by submitting a paper voter registration application.

Vote-by-Mail

What are the options for returning my mail-in ballot?

If you request a mail-in ballot for the 2020 General Election you have five main options for voting. They are:

  1. Return the mail-in ballot via the USPS. All mail-in ballots are marked with pre-paid postage.
  2. Return the mail-in ballot directly to the Centre County Elections Office at the Willowbank Building in Bellefonte, Monday through Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm.
  3. Put the mail-in ballot in a designated secure ballot drop box.
  4. Surrender your mail-in ballot and return envelope with barcode at your polling location on Election Day.  You will surrender your mail-in ballot and return envelope with barcode to the poll workers and fill out a form that voids the mail-in ballot. Then you will be given a regular ballot that will be voted at your polling location.
  5. If you are unable to bring your mail-in ballot to your polling location on Election Day, you will be given a provisional ballot at your polling location when you come to vote. The provisional ballot will be verified in the days following the election. Here’s more information regarding provisional ballots: https://www.votespa.com/Voting-in-PA/Pages/Voting-by-Provisional-Ballot.aspx.

How do I vote by mail?

Please visit Vote By Mail for more information.

I have requested my vote-by-mail ballot. When can I expect to receive it?

On Saturday, October 3, barcodes for mail-in and absentee ballot envelopes were created. Then, from October 5 through October 12, ballot packets with voting materials were assembled. Balloting materials include: the ballots, secrecy Envelopes, return Envelopes, and instructions sheet. Completed ballot packets were sent to the USPS beginning on Saturday, October 10. Voters in Centre County began to receive mail-in and absentee ballots on Tuesday, October 13.

Can someone else return my completed vote-by-mail ballot?

Generally speaking, no. Only the voter can return their own vote-by-mail ballot.

Exceptions do exist for individuals with a physical disability or an emergency absentee voter. In these cases, a voter should complete a Designated Agent Form that can be used by someone else do the following:

  • submit a completed paper ballot application to the Centre County Board of Elections
  • pick up a ballot for the voter to complete
  • deliver or mail the completed ballot to the Centre County Board of Elections.

Please call the Centre County Elections Office at (814) 355-6703 with any questions regarding the designation of agent form.

What happens if someone votes by mail and then tries to vote on Election Day at their polling location?

The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot for the 2020 General Election is 5PM on Tuesday, October 27. Once all the applications for vote-by-mail ballots are processed, the poll books are printed for Election Day. When voting in-person on Election Day there is an area in the poll book for each voter’s signature. For voters that request a vote-by-mail ballot there will not be a signature line. Instead there will be a message that says they are not eligible to cast a regular ballot due to requesting or returning a vote-by-mail ballot. If the voter believes this is an error they can still cast a provisional ballot.

Provisional ballots are not opened and counted until all regular ballots are counted. Each provisional ballot is cross-referenced with the Election Day poll books and the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (SURE) system. Anyone who casts a provisional ballot on Election Day received a barcode with a number unique to their ballot, a phone number, and a website to track if their vote was completely counted, partially counted, or not counted. (More information on provisional ballots is available here.)

If someone casts a provisional ballot at their polling location on Election Day and has also returned a vote-by-mail ballot their provisional ballot will not count. If someone casts a provisional ballot at their polling location on Election Day and has not returned their vote-by-mail ballot their provisional ballot will count.

How do I remove myself from the permanent absentee ballot or mail-in ballot list?

Voters who signed up to receive an absentee ballot or a mail-in ballot have the option of requesting to receive an application to renew their absentee or mail-in ballot request each year. This application will be mailed to voters prior to each Primary Election. After your annual application is approved, you will automatically receive ballots for all elections occurring the remainder of the year. You do not need to submit an application for each election. The county will send you an annual renewal form so you can continue receiving ballots each year.

Voters registered in Centre County who no longer wish to receive an application for absentee or mail-in ballots each year can request to cancel their permanent absentee ballot or mail-in ballot status by completing this form and mailing it to:

Centre County Elections & Voter Registration
420 Holmes St
Bellefonte, PA 16823

Will “naked” vote-by-mail ballots be counted?

No. On September 17, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that an absentee or mail-in ballot that is not enclosed in the secrecy envelope must be disqualified.

Can a vote-by-mail ballot be rejected for mismatching signatures?

On September 11, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of State released guidance regarding acceptance of mail-in and absentee ballots. From page 3 of the guidance, “[t]he Pennsylvania Election Code does not authorize the county board of elections to set aside returned absentee or mail-in ballots based solely on signature analysis by the county board of elections.”

Further, the Pennsylvania Election Code does not have a process for rejecting vote-by-mail ballots due to a mismatched signature. As long as there is any marking in the Voter’s Declaration signature box the Centre County Board of Elections will accept the ballot.

If the Board of Elections received a vote-by-mail ballot that has a missing signature on the Voter’s Declaration, the Board will send to the voter a letter alerting them of the error. The voter will need to call the Elections Office and schedule a time to come to the Elections Office to sign the Voter’s Declaration. The voter will be asked to show ID similar to that of what is asked for a first-time voter at a polling location. Any vote-by-mail ballot still lacking a signature at 8:00PM on Tuesday, November 3 will not be counted. The voter will receive a second letter notifying them their ballot was not counted due to lack of signature.

How can I track that status of my vote-by-mail ballot?

Centre County voters can see the status of their mail-in or absentee ballot online. Track your ballot’s progress from when your county receives your application, to when they receive your voted ballot. Visit votesPA.com/MailBallotStatus and enter your information.

Are postmarks acceptable for returning my vote-by-mail ballot?

Based on the expected number of Pennsylvanians opting to use mail-in ballots during the pandemic, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted a three-day extension of the absentee and mail-in ballot received-by deadline to allow for the tabulation of ballots mailed by voters via the USPS and postmarked by 8:00 p.m. on November 3, 2020. Ballots received after November 6 will not be counted. The Centre County Board of Elections encourages voters to return their own voted mail-in ballots to a secure ballot drop box(link to drop box page) on Election Day by 8:00 p.m.

I have received my vote-by-mail ballot but want to vote in-person on Election Day at my polling location. Can I still vote in-person on Election Day?

Yes. You should save your vote-by-mail ballot and return/voter declaration envelope and bring it to your polling location on Election Day.

When you arrive at the check-in table at your polling location you can surrender your mail-in ballot and return/voter declaration envelope to a poll worker. The poll worker will then give you a form that you fill out that will void your mail-in ballot. Then you will sign into the poll book and be given a regular ballot that you can vote at your polling location and place into the ballot scanner.

Secure Ballot Drop Boxes

Are secure ballot drop boxes going to be used in the 2020 General Election?

Yes. On September 17, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the Pennsylvania Election Code allows county boards of election to accept hand-delivered absentee and mail-in ballots at drop boxes. The Centre County Board of Elections has identified eight locations throughout the County for drop boxes.

Click here to learn more about Centre County’s secure ballot drop boxes.

Where are the secure ballot drop boxes located?

Click here for a complete list of official drop boxes in Centre County.

How often are drop boxes emptied?

Secure ballot drop boxes are empties once a day, Monday-Friday, by a bi-partisan team of two election workers. They are accompanied by a Sheriffs Deputy for additional security.

Satellite Elections Office at the Bryce Jordan Center

What are the dates and hour of operation for the Satellite Elections Office at the BJC?

Dates and hours of operation of the Satellite Elections Office can be found here under the dropdown menu.

I voted at the Satellite Elections Office at the BJC but received an email saying my ballot would be mailed to me?

The way the mail-in application process system is set up is that voters receive emails at certain points during the process: receipt of application, approval of application, mailing of ballot, and receipt of ballot. Since a voter is conducting an “over-the-counter” transaction for a mail-in ballot at the BJC they will receive at least one email from the Pennsylvania Department of State indicating that a ballot will be mailed to them.

The Centre County Elections Office has alerted the PA DoS about this and have asked them to remedy this for future voters who use the Satellite Elections Office at the BJC. There is no way for Centre County Elections to turn this notification off.

Voters who receive an in-person mail-in ballot at the Satellite Elections Office at the BJC who receive an email stating they will receive a ballot in the mail should disregard that email. They will not be mailed another ballot.

Where to Vote

Where can I vote on election day?

You can look up your voting location by address.

What to Expect on Election Day

What do I need to bring with me?

When voting at a polling place for the first time, you must show proof of identification, either with photo or not.

Click here to find out more information about approved forms of photo identification.

What are my rights as a voter?

  • If the polls close while you are still in line, stay in line – you have the right to vote.
  • If you make a mistake on your ballot, ask for a new one.
  • You are entitled to a provisional ballot, even if you are not in the poll book.
  • If you run into any problems or have questions on Election Day, contact the Centre County Elections Office at Elections@centrecountypa.gov.

If I do not live in Centre County, can I be a poll watcher in Centre County?

No. On September 17, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the poll watcher residency requirement in the Election Code is valid and constitutional.

Voting Procedures During COVID-19

Will masks or face coverings be mandated at polling locations on Election Day, November 3, 2020?

The Centre County Board of Elections is strongly encouraging individuals to wear masks when they vote in-person on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. 

The Board of Elections cannot mandate voters to wear masks or face coverings while at a polling location.

However, all poll workers will be required to wear masks during their time working in the polls.

Will masks or face covering be mandated at the Satellite Elections Office at the BJC?

Yes. Mask are required for all elections staff and voters while at the Satellite Elections Office at the BJC.

Here are some other COVID-19 protocols in place at early voting in-person Satellite Elections Office at the BJC:

  • Social distancing floor markers are spaced throughout the BJC.
  • Automatic hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the BJC.
  • Each voter receives their own pen (to keep)to complete their balloting materials.
  • Each voting booth or table has q-tips and sponges to seal envelopes (no need for voters to remove their masks).
  • Each booth and table are disinfected after each use.

What precautions will be taken at the polling place?

People in line will wait 6 feet apart, everyone will be encouraged to wear masks, and sanitizer will be available upon entry and exit. In addition, there will be sneeze guards for all poll workers. Each voter will be given their own pen to mark their ballot and keep after they are done voting. Also, poll workers will be wiping down voting booths and tables after each use.

How can I avoid crowds?

You can avoid crowds by voting by mail.

Election Workers

How do I sign up to be a poll worker?

Thank you for your interest in helping to make democracy happen in Centre County. You can sign up to be a poll worker at: https://www.centrecountypa.gov/pollworker. After completing the form a team member from the Centre County Elections & Voter Registration Office will contact you with more information.

Please visit Contact Us if you have any questions regarding becoming a poll worker

How do I sign up to help process the vote-by-mail ballots?

Thank you for your interest in helping to make democracy happen in Centre County. Due to an overwhelming response from the Centre County community we are no longer accepting sign ups for workers in the Vote-By-Mail Processing Room for the 2020 General Election.