EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Governor Shapiro’s Administration urged voters Monday to educate themselves on their rights at the polls before they vote in person on Tuesday, May 16.

On Primary Day, Tuesday, May 16 polling locations will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for registered voters to make their voices heard.

Pennsylvania’s Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt encouraged registered voters to educate themselves about their rights before they vote in person on Tuesday.

“All Pennsylvania voters can find a wealth of information about their rights on our vote.pa.gov website. Every voter should be well informed about how to exercise their right to vote,” Schmidt said.

The following are some important tips regarding voter’s rights in Pennsylvania:

  • Only first-time voters, or those voting for the first time in a new precinct, must show ID.
    • Acceptable forms of ID include both photo and non-photo ID.
    • Registered first-time voters who do not bring identification to the polls can return with a valid ID or must be offered a provisional ballot.
  • Voters who applied for and received a mail-in ballot and decided they wanted to vote at the polls instead, must bring their mail-in ballot, including the outer return envelope, with them so they can be voided.
    • If a voter applied for a mail-in ballot but did not return it and no longer has the mail-in ballot and outer envelope, they may vote by provisional ballot at their polling place.
      • Their county board of elections will then make a determination as to whether their provisional ballot can be counted.
  • If a voter applied for a mail-in ballot but never received it, they should vote by provisional ballot.
    • Their county board of elections will then make a determination as to whether their provisional ballot can be counted.
  • If a voter’s name is not in the poll book, election workers can call the county board of elections to see if the voter is registered in another precinct in the county. Registered voters who are in the wrong polling place should go to the correct polling place to vote, but a voter who believes they are registered in that precinct and should be listed in the poll book is entitled to cast a provisional ballot there.
  • Voters who moved to Pennsylvania but did not update their address in time before the election can vote one more time in their previous precinct, but they must update their address at the polling place.
  • If a voter is challenged based on their identity or residency, the voter may vote normally by signing a challenge affidavit and producing a witness who is also a registered voter in the precinct to vouch for them. If the voter can’t or doesn’t want to produce a witness, the voter can cast a provisional ballot.
    • Identity and residency are the only bases for challenging a voter at a polling place.
  • Voters have the right to ask for help at the polling place, including foreign language or reading assistance. A voter can pick any person to help as long as the person is not their employer, union representative, or the Judge of Elections.
    • Voters don’t need to be designated as “assistance permitted” in the poll book to receive help. A person who needs help will be asked to sign an Assistance Declaration at the polling place unless the poll book already states “assistance permitted.”
  • Voters also have the right to refuse assistance.
  • Voters have the right to vote without being subjected to intimidation, harassment, or discriminatory conduct. Voters who believe they’re being intimidated should report it to the Judge of Elections, their county board of elections, their county district attorney’s office, or the Department of State’s year-round voter hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).

Schmidt also advised those who are voting by mail-in or absentee ballot to return their completed ballot ASAP, by delivering it to their county election board or a ballot drop-box, if their county has one.

The deadline for county election boards to receive completed mail-in ballots is Tuesday, May 16 at 8:00 p.m.

A postmark by that time does not count.

According to Schmidt, voters who are returning completed mail ballots to sign and write the current date on the outer envelope to ensure their vote can be counted.

Voters who have election-related questions or are looking for more information should head to the Department of State’s website.