Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians work together to make elections happen.
High voter turnout makes elections a success. 4 in 5 voted in 2020!
Elections Work (By the Numbers)
voting locations in PA (many are schools and churches)
Pennsylvanians are active registered voters
poll workers are needed across PA on Election Day
voted by mail in the last election
For over 100 years, PA law has allowed voters to deliver ballots before Election Day. Drop boxes are monitored and make voting efficient and safe for PA citizens.
PA counties choose what voting systems they use. Federal and state laws require counties have verifiable, auditable paper records and that voting machines are kept secure and tested for accuracy.
PA has allowed voting by mail since the Civil War. The Republican-led state legislature expanded the use of mail-in ballots in 2019 with strong bipartisan support.
Ballots cast in PA are subject to strict security measures known as chain-of-custody requirements. Votes cannot be added, changed or deleted. Election results are audited for accuracy.
Who Can Vote
Only PA residents who are U.S. citizens can vote. All registered voters, including independents, can vote in the midterms. As required by law, PA election officials update voter registration lists annually.
Auditable paper records exist for all votes in PA. Poll watchers are appointed by both political parties to observe testing of voting equipment, procedures at polling places, and the counting of votes.
For over 100 years, PA law has allowed voters to deliver ballots before Election Day, and today that includes at drop boxes. Guidance from the Secretary of the Commonwealth states that drop boxes should have: locks and tamper-evident seals; safeguards to prevent damage or unauthorized removal; signs displaying the laws prohibiting tampering or third party return of ballots; video surveillance where feasible; and a secure chain-of-custody procedure to ensure ballots are collected and returned by authorized personnel. Trump’s AG Bill Barr said there was no evidence of fraud in PA in 2020 or tampering with drop boxes. Claims that cell phone locations demonstrate people returning multiple ballots are not supported by the actual and accurate cell phone data, as a number of Trump Administration officials have testified.
Pennsylvania has allowed for voting by mail since the Civil War. Registered voters must apply for and be verified by local county election officials before they receive a mail-in ballot or absentee ballot.
Anyone who requested a mail ballot who also votes in person has their in-person ballot set aside as a provisional ballot until local election workers confirm that person did not also vote by mail.
This process ensures people vote only once. In January 2022, the PA Supreme Court upheld the use of mail-in voting as constitutional.
You can track your ballot online.
PA counties are required by law to continuously remove people who have died from the voter rolls. In 2020, 85,000 deceased voters were removed from PA voter rolls prior to the election. Votes cast by people who vote early but then die before election day are not counted. Senior Republican officials, including AG Bill Barr and Commissioner Al Schmidt, have refuted claims that large numbers of dead people voted in PA in 2020.
No. Pennsylvania’s voting equipment, including the systems that tally Pennsylvanians’ votes, are never connected to the internet. Voting machines are stored in a secure location, and it is a crime to tamper with them. After the 2020 election, federal and state officials found “no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
It is normal and necessary for vote totals to change over the course of several days. Local, bipartisan election workers count and validate each vote before it is included in the official tally, and that takes time. Election officials give out rolling totals and are constantly double checking and updating the numbers. The first votes counted and reported are generally from people who voted in-person during the morning and afternoon of Election Day. Mail-in votes take longer to add to vote tallies.
PA law prevents mail-in ballots from being counted until Election Day, and some PA counties do not even begin counting mail-in ballots until the day after Election Day. Ballots from members of the military will be counted even if they arrive a short time after Election Day, as long as they are post-marked before Election Day. Nearly one million mail ballots were requested for the PA primary in May, and many more are expected for the November election.
More than 60 court cases and numerous investigations by PA Republicans have found no evidence of fraud that would affect the outcome of the 2020 election. Donald Trump’s Attorney General, Bill Barr, and Trump’s Department of Justice investigated and found no evidence of widespread fraud. Ivanka Trump testified that she believed there was no widespread election fraud. No claims of substantial election fraud have survived legal scrutiny, and many were dismissed as meritless by Trump-appointed judges.
Some false information is spread intentionally to deceive people. Why would someone want to deliberately spread lies about voting and elections? Unfortunately, there are a lot of reasons. Some people have found they can make a lot of money or get a lot of media attention promoting sensational theories. Some candidates just don’t want to accept they lost an election that was fair. Some who pedal false claims work for foreign governments, like China and Iran, that want to undermine trust in our democratic systems and hurt our country. Others are trying to justify passing new laws that add barriers to voting or make it easier to overturn election results for their own political advantage.
Keep asking this question! Most people who share misinformation do so before considering whether what they are sharing is true. Lies about voting and elections can be particularly difficult to spot. A few things to look for: is a story or claim believable? does it come from a source you know is credible? does it cause a strong emotional response? does it come with a request for money? If the answers make you suspicious, you might want to look for an alternative, trusted source.
“The U.S. Justice Department has uncovered NO evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.”
Attorney General William Barr