Mary Dupuis and Dianne Gregg, AAUW State College
Rumors about voting are confusing people. Most rumors are wrong, but they have caused some who applied for mail-in ballots to change their minds, now wanting to vote in-person. You can do that, but you have to do it correctly.
Be sure you take with you every piece of paper that came with your mail-in ballot. The reason is, the people working at your poll will know you applied for the mail-in ballot. If you walk in and ask for an in-person ballot, they will think you are trying to vote twice. That’s a felony, so they can’t give it to you unless you prove you never used the mail-in ballot. That’s why you must take all the paper, so it can be invalidated. If you only take some of the paper, you may be given a provisional ballot. Those get sorted out in the end, but it’s not a desirable way to vote if you are worried about the count on election day.
Did you change your mind about the mail-in vote due to worries about USPS delays? If you mail the ballot back by two weeks out, the mail should be fine. Are you still not convinced you can trust the mail? You can deliver your ballot yourself to a secure drop box. Those boxes are monitored by cameras for security reasons. You will find one at the county offices in the Willowbank Building in Bellefonte, as well as at the State College Municipal Building and other locations.
The locations are listed at an icon on the newly redesigned Centre County Elections Office homepage. You’ll find links there for almost everything you might want to know. Go to centrecountyvotes.com You can apply for a ballot, find out how to return it, track it as you would a package, and even view results at the clearly marked icons.
Is mail-in voting valid? Yes. Our military has done it since the Civil War. Their ballots always are accepted a few days after Election Day, to allow for the mail. As for verification, when you vote in-person, you sign the book; when you mail in, you sign the back of the outer envelope (be sure your ballot is sealed in the inner secrecy envelope). In both cases, your signature is compared to the one on record with the Elections Office. Bar coding keeps ballots from being fraudulently duplicated.
Because we no longer have straight ticket voting, please vote individually for each of your preferred candidates.
AAUW State College’s Public Policy Committee works to provide you with up-to-date information to make your vote count. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Mary (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dianne (email@example.com).