Voter Registration FAQ

Here are some of the most common questions from voters

Q. How can I register to vote?

A. When you apply for a driver license, renew your driver license or change your address on your driver license, or
B. By calling the Registration Office (570) 524-8682 or (570) 524-3891 and requesting a registration form, or
C. Check with your local Post Office, Library, Municipal Office, or any Federal agency that offers assistance, or
D. Candidate or party committee members.
(Note: Registration closes thirty (30) days prior to every primary and general election.)

Q. How can I find out if I am registered to vote?

A. Call the Registration Office (570) 524-8682 or (570) 524-3891.

Q. How do I find out information about the candidates?

A. Listen or read what the news media has to report; more importantly, go to the candidate debates or talk to the candidates personally. The Election Bureau will never give out information concerning candidate’s viewpoints. 
The League of Women Voters is both a good source of information/views of local, statewide, and national candidates. Click here to for find contact information for the League of Women Voters.

Q. Why can’t I vote in the primary if I am not registered as a Republican or Democrat?

A. Pennsylvania has what is called a closed Primary, which only allows Republicans and Democrats to vote for candidates. If there is a referendum on the ballot, all registered voters, other than Republician or Democrat, will receive a ballot with only the referendum to be voted for.

Q. Why should I vote? It really doesn’t mean anything.

A. Your vote is very important. Your vote is your voice!

Q. In the November Election, when I vote straight party, may I also vote for a candidate of another party?

A. Yes, you may vote straight party and also vote for a candidate of another party. The tabulation system will count all of the straight party votes and for the office you voted for another party candidate, the system will not count the straight party vote, but will count the candidate of your choice.

Q. How old do I have to be to get registered to vote?

A. You have to be 18 years of age on the day of the next primary or election.

Q. When are the Polls open?

A. From 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Q. How do I change my address or political party?

A. Through the renewal of your drivers license or by calling the elections office (570) 524-8682 or (570) 524-3891.

Q. How do I run for political office?

A. You must call the Election Office in January of each year to see if the office you are interested in is up for election. Judicial, County, Township, Borough, and School District offices are always on odd numbered years. Federal, State and party offices are on even numbered years.

Q. Why are the federal elections held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November?

A. The Tuesday after the first Monday in November was initially established in 1845 (3 u.S.C.1) for the appointment of presidential electors in every fourth year. 2 U.S.C. 7 established this date for electing U.S. Representatives in every even numbered year in 1975. Finally, 2 U.S.C. 1 established this date as the time for electing U.S. Senators in 1914. 
Why early November? For much of our history, America was a predominantly agrarian society. Lawmakers therefore took into account that November was perhaps the most convenient month for farmers and rural workers to be able to travel to the polls. The fall harvest was over, (remembering that spring was planting time and summer was taken up with working the fields and tending the crops) but in the majority of the nation the weather was still mild enough to permit travel over unimproved roads.
Why Tuesday? Since most residents of rural America had to travel a significant distance to the county seat in order to vote, Monday was not considered reasonable, as many people would need to begin travel on Sunday. This would, of course, have conflicted with church services and Sunday worship. 
Why the first Tuesday after the first Monday? Lawmakers wanted to prevent Election Day from falling on the first of November for two reasons. November 1 is All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics. In addition, most merchants were in the habit of doing their books from the preceding month on the 1st. Congress was apparently worried that the economic success or failure of the previous month might influence the vote of the merchants.

Q. When are other elections held?

A. The General Election is held in even-numbered years, on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. 
The Municipal Election is held in odd-numbered years, on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November.
The Primary Election in each even-numbered year is called the General Primary and is held on the third Tuesday of May, except in Presidential years when it is held on the fourth Tuesday of April.
The Primary Election in each odd-numbered year is called the Municipal Primary and is held on the third Tuesday of May. 
Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of Superior and Commonwealth Courts, Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, Judges of Community Courts (if established), Judges in Magisterial Districts, Constables and all County, Municipal, School District, and Election District Officers are elected only at a Municipal Election.
Electors for President and Vice President of the United States, United States Senators, Representatives in Congress, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Auditor General, State Treasurer, Attorney General, Senators, and Representatives in the General Assembly are elected only at a General Election.

Q. What is the order of succession should the President die, become incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to finish his term of office?

A. The order of succession is as follows: Vice President, Speaker of the House, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, and Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health, Housing, Transportation, Energy, Education, and Veterans Affairs. (President Succession Act of 1947.)

Q. The basics for Pennsylvania:

A. Poll Place Hours – 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
B. Voter ID required - Yes, sometimes. For more information, click here.
C. Voter Signature Required to Vote – Yes
D. Voter Signature Verified – Yes
E. Bars Closed – Yes
F. Election Day Holiday – No
G. Schools Closed – No
H. State Employees Off – No
I. Private Employees Off – No
J. Electioneering Banned within – 10 Ft.
K. Straight Party Voting – Yes, only November elections
L. Write Ins – Yes