Voting in 2020: How to Tackle This Election

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Danica Harf and Gabby Landis

2020 is an election year that has taken the forefront of most media platforms. It is important for all people who are eligible to be able to practice their right to vote.

In Pennsylvania, there are three different ways to register to vote. All ways are detailed on VOTE.GOV

DATE November 3, 2020 October 19, 2020 September 14-October 27


The first way to register is online. To register online, go to, search for your state (Pennsylvania), and complete the voter registration application. 

The application Includes:

  • Your full legal name
  • Your status as a citizen
  • Date of birth
  • Race
  • Phone number/ Email
  • Address
  • Identification
  • Political Party


If you do not have access to a computer, you can register by mail. You can fill out the same application and mail it to your local voter registration office. The address for the voter office in Allentown is 17 South Seventh Street, Allentown, PA 18101-2400. 

Mail-in voting is referred to by a couple of different names, but the most well known is an absentee ballot. To request a mail-in ballot, you must visit the website and fill out the Mail-in Ballot Application and submit it to your local election office no later than October 27. Make sure to read all the instructions on your ballot once it arrives, as to avoid the possibility of it being thrown out. 

Something voters should be aware of this year is that your mail-in ballot must be thrown out if it is a “naked ballot.” According to, PA mail-in ballots will include a secrecy envelope. Author of the article Andrew Prokop explains, “Once you fill out the ballot itself, you must place it inside the provided secrecy envelope, which contains no information about your identity. Then you put the sealed secrecy envelope inside a different postage-paid addressed return envelope, on which you have to sign your name and write your address.” If you do not complete these steps and mail in your ballot without the secrecy envelope, the election office will be forced to throw it out. 


You can also register in person by going to your local election office. This, however, is not recommended due to the presence of COVID-19. If you choose to register in person, take the same filled-out application that you would have mailed. 


In Pennsylvania, voters have the option to vote early in person. This is called absentee in-person voting. You can vote this way from September 14-October 27, but these dates and the hours that the voter office is open depends upon which office you go to. Visit your voter office’s website for more information. 

On election day, if you plan to vote in person, there are a couple of things you should have with you. If you are voting for the first time, voting in PA for the first time, or are voting at a specific polling place for the first time, you must bring ID with you when you go vote. This can be a PA driver’s license, a PennDOT ID card, a student ID, or a US passport just to name a few. If you have voted at the polling place before, you do not have to show ID to vote, but it is a good idea to bring a form of ID just in case.

If you do not bring an ID with you, you will be able to vote using a provisional ballot that will be provided to you at the polling place. A provisional ballot is a special ballot provided to a voter if their voting eligibility is unconfirmed. These ballots are kept separate from regular ballots and after Election Day, they are reviewed to make sure voters that were able to vote will have their vote cast. 

In order to vote in the presidential election on November 3rd, 2020, all voters must be registered by October 19, 2020.



Hubler, Katy Owens, and Meghan McCann. “Provisional Ballots.” NCSL, National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 Sept. 2020, 

“Mail-in and Absentee Ballot.” Votes PA, 

Prokop, Andrew. “Pennsylvania’s Naked Ballot Problem, Explained.” Vox, Vox, 24 Sept. 2020,