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Fontana Shares Information for Election Day

In this week's column, State Sen. Wayne Fontana provides helpful information for preparing for election day.

With Election Day approaching, I encourage you to visit www.votespa.com if you have any questions about any aspect of the voting process. This site has information on your rights as a voter, answers to frequently asked questions and allows you to confirm your registration and polling place. Below is additional information about the Nov. 6 election. If you need any further assistance or have any additional questions, please call one of my district offices and my staff will gladly assist you.

Voter ID Reminder

With Election Day less than a week away, I want to take this opportunity to again remind my constituents of the recent developments on the voter ID law.  On Oct. 2, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson stayed the mandatory requirements of the Voter ID law (Act 18) for at least the 2012 general election. This means that the state of the law reverts to what it was during the primary where voters can be educated about a possible requirement for photo ID in the future, but cannot be required to show one in order to vote.

Should voters show up at the polls on Election Day, Nov. 6, and do not have photo ID, they must still be allowed to vote in the actual voting machine—not be forced to complete a provisional ballot. The court did not rule on the constitutionality of the concept of voter ID, but instead indicated that it would conduct a full trial on that issue in the near future.

Eventually voters will be required to show a valid ID in order to vote in future elections. Even though you will not be required to show ID in order to vote in November, if you do not have a valid form of identification, you should begin taking steps now to ensure that your vote counts in future elections. If you need a photo ID, please contact one of my district offices and my staff and I will gladly assist you in obtaining an acceptable form of ID.

Since the photo ID requirement became law, I have been working with the Corbett Administration in an effort to make the process of obtaining a photo ID simple and more convenient for voters. I reached out several times to the Administration and asked that they create neighborhood centers and authorize state offices, including elected officials’ offices, to help facilitate the process of obtaining a photo ID. My requests have been repeatedly denied by the Administration.

Moving forward, if this law is to be fully implemented in the future, I will continue my efforts to make the process of obtaining a photo ID more convenient. For the Nov. 6 election though, I want my constituents to understand that they do not need to show a photo ID in order to vote.

Polling Place Locator

If you are newly-registered voter, have recently moved, or have not voted in a while, and are unsure where your polling place is, you should visit the Allegheny County Elections Division website. You will be asked to enter your municipality, house number and street name. Once that information is entered, the site will inform you of your polling place and provide the address. You will also be provided an opportunity to enter your name and birth date to determine if you are a registered voter and will also be able to view the ballot you will be presented with at your polling place. If you are unable to find your polling place on this site or if any of your information is listed incorrectly on the site, please call the Elections Division office at 412-350-4500.

Absentee Ballots

Any voter who needs an absentee ballot for the Nov. 6 Election needed to complete and return the application to the Allegheny County Elections Division by 5 p.m. on Oct. 30. If you submitted your application prior to the deadline, an absentee ballot will be mailed to you. On Oct. 30, an Allegheny County judge ordered that completed absentee ballots submitted to the County Elections Division prior to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 6, be counted. The original date to submit a completed absentee ballot was Nov. 2 by 5 p.m. and by the judge’s ruling, any ballot received after this time but before Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. will be sequestered. The Elections Division is located at 601 County Office Building, 542 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. Anyone voting by absentee ballot will be required to provide a PA Driver’s License number, PennDOT ID number, last four digits of Social Security Number, or a copy of an acceptable photo ID when applying.

How to Register Election Day Complaints

Any registered voter who wishes to file a complaint about alleged election law violations can do so online by visiting www.votespa.com and clicking on the “Election Complaints” tab. The voter will be asked to enter their first and last name, address, county of residence, and date of birth, to ensure they are a registered voter.  Once submitted these complaint forms will be directed to the county election board for the county in which the voter making the complaint resides.  Written statements of complaint are available at all polling places and the Allegheny County Board of Elections. You may also call 1-877-VOTES-PA (1-877-868-3772) to obtain a complaint statement.

 

Senator Wayne D. Fontana

42nd Senatorial District

www.senatorfontana.com

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