PENNSYLVANIA (WTAJ) – The Pennsylvania general election is coming up and there might be steps you need to take before you’re ready to head out the polls.

Find out more about important dates to remember before the election, who can vote and how, and what open seats candidates have been campaigning for in your area.

The contents of this article are as follows:

  • Important dates to remember
  • Voter eligibility
  • Voter registration instructions
  • Voting in-person on election day
  • Voting absentee, mail-in or early in-person
  • Poll worker registration instructions
  • Sample ballots and elections happening in your county

When do I go vote?

The general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 7 this year, but that’s not the only important date to remember.

If you want to be eligible to vote in the November election you must register to vote no later than Oct. 23. Keep reading to find out all the ways you can get registered.

Oct. 31 is the last day to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot. This process can be completed online and takes less than five minutes.

Polls will open early on Nov. 7 for you to cast your vote on Election Day. Most precincts will be open from about 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., but every location is different, so make sure to confirm with your local polling place ahead of time if you plan to vote in-person.

Nov. 7 will also be the last day for county boards of election to receive completed mail-in and civilian absentee ballots for those who chose to vote by one of those methods. Mail-in ballots can be turned in in-person by 8 p.m. if you didn’t have time to drop it in the mailbox before Election Day.

If you are in the military or overseas and are voting by absentee ballot, the board of elections must receive your ballot no later than Nov. 14.

Am I eligible to vote in Pennsylvania?

Most individuals who will be at least 18 years of age on or before Election Day, is a resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which they want to register for at least 30 days before the election and is a citizen of the U.S. for at least one month prior to the election is eligible to register to vote.

College students who attend college in Pennsylvania and meet these requirements are permitted to register to vote in Pennsylvania using the same voter registration process as other residents in the state. However, college students must make sure they are only registered in one place, so if they registered to vote in their home county or state before attending college in Pennsylvania, they must contact the board of elections under which they were previously registered and cancel that registration.

However, there are some additional requirements that could exclude some individuals from voting in Pennsylvania.

Persons who have been convicted of a felony are not eligible to vote if they are currently confined in a penal institution and will not be released from confinement until after the next election or are in a halfway house or other alternative correctional facility on pre-release status.

You are not eligible to vote if you have been convicted of violating any provisions of the Pennsylvania Election Code within the last four years.

While you are not eligible to vote if you are currently incarcerated for one or more misdemeanor offenses, being convicted of a misdemeanor does not permanently disqualify you from voting. You can still register to vote if you area pretrial detainee on felony or misdemeanor charges, are on probation or released on parole, are under house arrest or have will get released from a correctional facility or halfway house by the date of the next election. If you still qualify to vote under these terms, you should register to vote at your last known address before confinement- or where a new residence has been established for you while you were confined such as your spouse moving to a new address where you intend to live upon release.

How do I register to vote, check my registration status or change my information?

In Pennsylvania, there are four ways to register to vote – online, by mail, in person at your county voter registration office or at PennDOT or other government offices. Regardless of the method you choose, the process is the same:

  1. Fill out a voter registration application form.
  2. Your county voter registration office reviews the form.
  3. If your registration is accepted, you will receive a voter registration card in the mail. The voter registration card will show your name, address, party affiliation and the address where you will vote.

To complete your voter registration form online, go to and complete the online accessible form. This form is available in English, Spanish and Chinese.

To register by mail, print out and complete the Pennsylvania Voter Registration Application and send or deliver it to your local county elections office. The addresses for every elections office in Pa. can be found on page two of the application. If you opt to mail the application, just remember to put a stamp on the envelope. This form of application is also available in Spanish, Chinese Simplified, Traditional Chinese and Vietnamese.

If you need assistance completing your voter registration, or are unable to access a computer to complete the online application or print out a paper application, you can stop in at your local voter registration office. You can also register to vote at PennDOT locations and many state government offices.

If you are already registered to vote but recently changed addresses, changed your name or want to change political party, you can do so by following the same steps to complete a voter registration application. Just make sure to check the appropriate box to note that you only intend to file a ‘Change of Party’, ‘Change of Name’ or ‘Change of Address’.

If you know you’re registered to vote but haven’t done so in a while and are unsure of what information is on your most recent voter registration, you can find your voter registration status online, by contacting your voter registration office or by calling 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).

If you are in a penal institution, you must register to vote by mail.

How do I vote on Election Day?

If you plan to vote at the polls on Election Day, keep in mind that you must vote at the precinct associated with your home address under which you registered to vote. When a registration application is accepted, new voters receive a card that informs them of where their polling place is. Should the precinct location ever be changed, voters will be notified by mail.

But for those that haven’t voted in a while, it’s easy to forget where you’re supposed to go. Luckily, the Department of State has a ‘Find Your Polling Place’ search tool. By entering your address into the tool and selecting ‘Search’. The tool will provide information about your precinct, the name of the location and its address.

On Election Day, these polling sites will be transformed from their usual course of business into voting hubs. Counties in Pa. have the option to utilize different voting systems including electronic voter systems or paper ballots. According to the Department of State, all of the precincts in our area use paper ballots.

To vote by paper ballot follow these steps:

  1. Arrive at your polling place and check in with a poll worker who will provide you with a paper ballot.
  2. Take your ballot to a private marking station.
  3. Using a black or blue ink pen, completely fill in the oval next to each of your selections on the ballot. Make sure to follow the instructions for each contest about how many candidates you can select. You do not have to select the maximum number of candidates or vote in every contest.
  4. If you make a mistake on your ballot, ask the poll worker for a new one. They will give you a new one to complete and destroy the spoiled one.
  5. Take your completed ballot to the ballot scanner and insert it. Your ballot is cast when you see a confirmation screen on the scanner. If you run into any issues or need help, a poll worker should be nearby to assist.

To vote using an electronic ballot marking device follow these steps:

  1. Arrive at your polling place and check in with a poll worker who will direct you to a voting station and set you up with a ballot marking device.
  2. Make your selections by touching the screen. Use the PREVIOUS and NEXT buttons to switch between contests on the ballot. Follow the instructions for each contest about how many candidates you can select. You do not have to select the maximum number of candidates or vote in every contest.
  3. Review your selections on the summary screen.
  4. If you are satisfied with your selections, touch PRINT CARD to print your ballot. Confirm that your selections are properly printed on the ballot. If you want to make changes to your selections after your ballot has been printed, you will need to let a poll worker know so they can help you start over.
  5. Take your completed ballot to the ballot scanner and insert it. Your ballot is cast when you see a confirmation screen on the scanner. If you run into any issues or need help, a poll worker should be nearby to assist.

If you are a first time voter, you must show proof of identification when you check in. Approved forms of ID include any government issued photo ID, including Armed Forces IDs, and both student and employee IDs. If you do not have a photo ID, you can use non-photo identification that includes your name and address including a current utility bill, bank statement or paycheck. Check the Department of State website for a full list of acceptable forms of ID. If you have previously voted at this polling place and have made no changes to your registration, you are not legally obligated to provide ID.

And remember that you have the right to vote at your polling place regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin or membership in a language minority. It is illegal for any person or corporation to intimidate or coerce you to vote for or against a particular candidate or issue. If you are subjected to or witness discrimination or intimidation at your polling place, report it to your county board of elections and district attorney.

Uh-oh, I can’t make it to the polls on Election Day! What should I do?

Since 2020, all voters in Pennsylvania have had the option to vote by mail-in ballot. Any qualified voter may apply for this ballot type without reason.

Voters that plan to be out of the municipality on election day or those with a disability or illness that prevents them from going to their polling place on Election Day can vote by absentee ballot. Those choosing to vote absentee will be required to provide a reason as to why they are requesting this ballot type.

These types of ballots can be requested online, by mail or in person.

Those requesting an absentee or mail-in ballot will use the same online Ballot Request Application available through Pa. Voter Services or can submit a paper absentee ballot application or paper mail-in ballot application via mail to their county board of elections. These applications are available in English, Spanish and Traditional Chinese.

If you require assistance to complete these applications, or do not have access to a computer, they are available at the county board of elections.

To vote by mail-in or absentee ballot follow these steps:

  1. Read the instructions carefully and mark your ballot. Be sure to complete the front and back of each page, but remember that you do not have to select the maximum number of candidates or vote in every contest.
  2. Seal your ballot in the inner secrecy envelope that indicates “official election ballot.” Do not make any marks on the inner secrecy envelope. Your ballot must be enclosed and sealed in the inner envelope or it will not be counted.
  3. Seal the inner secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed out return envelope. Sign and date the voter’s declaration on the outside of the outer return envelope. If you do not complete the declaration on the return envelope, your ballot will not be counted.
  4. Return your completed ballot the county elections board no later than 8 p.m. on Nov. 7. You can do this by mailing you ballot or by hand-delivering it. If you do choose to mail your ballot, make sure you use the proper postage and that it arrives to the office by Election Day to ensure it is counted. Postmarks do not count.
  5. Some counties are providing secure drop-boxes for voters to return their ballots to. To use these boxes, follow steps 1-3 and then place your ballot in one of these boxes, if your county offers one.

If you are unable to go to the polls on election day, but still want to cast your ballot in-person, some counties are offering early voting locations. At these locations, you can vote in the same manner you would on Election Day and your vote will be counted on Nov. 7.

Every county in Central Pennsylvania will continue to offer early in-person voting and you can find your early voting polling place on

I heard we need a lot of poll workers in Pa. and I want to help. How do I become a poll worker?

The Pennsylvania Department of State reported that it takes about 45,000 poll workers to staff every poll location in the state on election days.

Poll workers are crucial to the election process. Their duties involve preparing the polling location, welcoming voters, verifying voter registration and issuing ballots. Poll workers help ensure voters understand the voting process by demonstrating how to use voting equipment and explaining voting procedures.

Those looking to become poll workers only have a few requirements they need to meet:

  • You must be registered to vote in the county where you wish to work
  • Your must not be running in the election for which you plan to serve as a poll worker
  • You cannot be a government official or employee. Exceptions exist for district judges, notaries public and members of the Pennsylvania National Guard.

To become a poll worker, individuals are asked to fill out a Poll Worker Interest Form online, call 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or email Interested individuals can also register by contacting their local election office.

Poll workers should plan to work all day Election Day, from before the polls open at 7 a.m. until after the polls close at 8 p.m. All poll workers will be paid for their time.

Each county will train their poll workers on their Election Day duties.

High school students that are age 17 also qualify to become poll workers, with some additional requirements and should contact their county election office for more information, or complete a Student Poll Worker Interest Form.

What is this election even for?

With multiple elections happening every year, it can be hard to keep track of what we’re voting for and when.

Nov. 7 is when Pennsylvania will hold its general election for municipal races. Municipal elections are held to elect local governing officials such as mayor, town council members, school officials and judges.

This year, voters in every county will decide whether or not Judge Jack Panella and Judge Victor Stabile shall retain their seats in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, as well as vote for two new judges to take the bench.

If you haven’t been following the 2023 elections and aren’t sure what offices are currently being campaigned for, there is still time to get in the loop and choose your candidates.

While online resources such as Ballotpedia can help users find a sample ballot for the next upcoming election, the Pennsylvania Department of State also has created a ‘Find Your District‘ search option to help you figure out which ballot is yours. This search only requires you to enter the address under which you registered to vote and will tell you your congressional, senatorial and legislative district.

Most county boards of elections will provide a sample ballot online ahead of the election to help voters prepare for Election Day. WTAJ has compiled the sample ballots for our local elections, which you can find below. If you don’t already know which ballot would be yours, please use the tools above or check your voter registration status to find your voting municipality and precinct.

While some prominent campaigns are being highlighted, and some open positions are county level positions that will appear on all ballots, these lists are not inclusive of every campaign on which voters will decide in the Nov. 7 general election and voters should check their precinct-specific ballot for all of the details.

Bedford County

Voters will be voting in 10 county-wide elections, including the county commissioners race and multiple reelection campaigns. Voters will also be selecting a new district attorney. That campaign is currently uncontested with Ashlan Clark being the only name on the ballot. Bedford County sample ballots can be found here.

Blair County

Along with selecting two new judges for the Blair County Court of Common Pleas, voters will also have a retention vote for two current judges – President Judge Elizabeth Doyle and Judge Wade Kagarise. There are nine county-wide elections this year, including for two county commissioner seats. Blair County sample ballots can be found here.

Cambria County

District Attorney Greg Neugebaur is running uncontested for reelection. There are 13 county wide elections this year and the sample ballots for each can be found here by scrolling down to the folder labeled “Specimen Ballots” and then selecting “2023 Municipal Election Specimen Ballots”

Cameron County

Cameron County will get a new district attorney following the election, with Paul Malizia being the only name on the ballot. There are 10 county-wide elections this year, including votes for county commissioners and county auditors. Cameron County sample ballots can be found here.

Centre County

With a total of 12 county-wide elections, Centre County will have quite a few decisions to make with multiple names appearing on the ballot for the open seats as controller, treasurer and recorder of deeds. Centre County sample ballots can be found here.

Clearfield County

Along with eight county-wide elections, voters will also have the opportunity to decide if Judge Paul Cherry should be retained as a judge in Common Pleas. Three of the Four Magesterial District Judges will be running for reelection – Mike Morris in Clearfield, Jim Glass in Houtzdale and Jerome Nevling in Kylertown. Clearfield County sample ballots can be found here.

Elk County

Elk County has not yet released sample ballots for the Nov. 7 election, but voters can expect to see the elections for Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court and Pennsylvania Superior Court, as these are statewide elections.

Huntingdon County

While the sample ballots have not yet been released by the board of elections in Huntingdon County, voters can see who is running in each election by utilizing online resources like Ballotpedia.

Jefferson County

Sample ballots have not yet been published in Jefferson County, but elections results from the May primary election are available. Candidates that were victorious in the primary will be the candidates appearing on the ballot for the upcoming general election.

Somerset County

Acting District Attorney Molly Metzgar is running for election as District Attorney in Somerset County. She was sworn in as the acting DA in November 2021 following the removal of former DA Jeffrey Thomas amid criminal charges.

In total, voters will make choices in seven elections, including for county commissioners and county auditor. Somerset County sample ballots can be found here.

And remember, just like in politics, there’s more than one side to a ballot. While you do not have to vote in every contest for your ballot to be accepted, make sure to look at both the front and back of the ballot and make selections in those that you do want to cast a vote in.

Tune in to WTAJ News on-air and online on Nov. 7 for live election coverage of the issues that matter to you.