Mark Dodel, BSN, MBA, RN (retired)

Blogs are the opinions of the bloggers only, and do not necessarily represent every Democrat or the Monroe County Democrats However, the MCD sponsors this blog to express and share the many ideas within our party.

How To Vote By Absentee Ballot

Pennsylvania has some of the most restrictive voting requirements in the country. We don't have vote by mail. We don't have early voting. We don't allow voting anywhere except at your assigned polling location on election day. Believe it or not many other states have one or more of these features which make it a lot easier to vote.

We only allow voting on the assigned Tuesday in the Spring for the Primary and in November for the General elections. Not everyone can be off on those single days and many may be out of the area or incapable of getting to their polling place for health reasons. If any of this applies to you, you need to vote by Absentee Ballot.

To vote by Absentee Ballot in Pennsylvania you must fill out an application form which you can download online. Besides your name you have to enter your address with your township or borough NOT your postoffice. For example my mailing address is Stroudsburg, PA 18360, but on this form I enter Hamilton Township, PA 18360.  You enter your regular mailing address, or if you are away at college or out of the state the address you can receive mail at, in the area for where to mail the ballot. You should also enter your polling place if you know it or Voter Registration will locate it for you. An ID number, either your PA Driver License number or the last four digits of your social security number is required. You then must fill in either a medical reason you can't get to your polling place or a reason you will be away from your polling precinct for the day ( ie work or travel ) . Finally sign and date the form and either drop it off at the county voter office or mail it to the correct address for your county voter office.

The last day to apply in 2018 for a civilian absentee ballot in Pennsylvania is October 30. They will mail you a paper ballot ( or you can apply and fill in the ballot in person at the voter registration office, Monroe County Board of Elections, Monroe County Administrative Building, One Quaker Plaza, Room 105 in Stroudsburg ) with two envelopes to return your filled in ballot. You put your marked ballot in the internal unmarked envelope and then that into the return envelope. You must write your polling precinct name ( it will be printed on your ballot ), your municipality (Your township or borough ), your mailing address and sign the outer envelope.

The last day for the County Board of Elections to receive voted civilian absentee ballot in 2018 is November 2nd, the Friday before election day.

If you are living outside of the US you can apply online for a ballot via the Federal Voting Assistance Program but you have to be outside the US to use that.  This is a website that provides voting assistance for Service members, their families and overseas citizens.

If you are around on Election Day you can still vote in person at your polling place and the poll workers will void the Absentee Ballot. Every vote is important. If you think you may have a problem getting to your polling place, then apply for an Absentee Ballot today.

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