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Make Sure You're Ready to Vote on May 20, Says Seventy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Patrick Christmas
Senior Policy Analyst
(215) 557-3600, ext. 114
(919) 423-7281 (cell)
pchristmas@seventy.org

MAKE SURE YOU’RE READY TO VOTE ON MAY 20, SAYS SEVENTY
Encourages Voters with Questions to Call 1-866-OUR VOTE (1-866-687-8683) Hotline   

PHILADELPHIA – May 6, 2014 – The non-partisan Committee of Seventy issued a series of announcements today to prepare eligible Pennsylvania voters for the May 20, 2014 primary election. Four candidates are vying for the Democratic party’s nomination to run for Pennsylvania’s governor in the November 4 general election. Incumbent Governor Tom Corbett is running unopposed in the GOP primary.

“Voters should come out in droves for this election,” urged Patrick Christmas, Senior Policy Analyst for Seventy, which champions honest elections and increased access to voting. “Decisions that impact voters’ everyday lives are made in Harrisburg.” Noting that, in Philadelphia, the state controls the public schools, the Parking Authority and who gets casino licenses, Christmas added: “City voters, in particular, have an enormous stake on who represents them in the state capitol.”

Christmas said the following information will help voters get fully prepared for May 20:   

  • Non-partisan volunteers trained by Seventy are now staffing a dedicated hotline to answer elections-related questions from voters all across Pennsylvania: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683). The hotline is sponsored nationally by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and hosted by Seventy for the primary and general elections.

  • Besides governor, other offices on the May 20 ballot include: Lieutenant Governor, U.S. Representative, state Senator (even-numbered districts only), state Representative, and state and city committeepeople (party officials). Only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary for governor. Only registered Republicans can vote in the Republican primary for governor. Independents and unaffiliated voters cannot vote in the primary races.

  • Information on all the May 20 candidates in Philadelphia County is available here. For a discussion of issues in the governor’s race, see Seventy’s Guv Race 101 series.

  • Important Notice for Philadelphia County voters: All eligible city voters – Democrats, Republicans, Independents, other minority parties, as well as unaffiliated voters – can vote in a Special Election to fill a vacant At-Large (citywide) seat on City Council. All voters can also vote on the three city ballot questions. Information on the Special Election and ballot questions is available here.  

  • All voters should confirm that they are registered to vote and where their polling place is located before going to the polls. This information is available here.  Voters with questions should call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)

  • Voters who can attest to being unable to vote in person in their home counties may qualify for an absentee ballot. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday, May 13 by 5:00 p.m. Completed absentee ballots must be received by county Boards of Election by Friday, May 16 at 5:00 p.m. (Postmarks are not honored.) For absentee ballot application forms and contact information for County Boards of Elections, go to www.votespa.com or call 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).

  • Voters do NOT need photo identification in order to vote in person at Pennsylvania polling places. However, voters who are voting for the first time ever or for the first time at a new polling place (e.g., voters who have moved to a new voting division) will be required to show photo or non-photo proof of identification (i.e. voter registration card, Pennsylvania Driver’s license, current utility bill, etc.). Visit www.votespa.com for a full list of approved identification.  

“The 2013 elections were pretty sleepy,” Christmas said. “We urge Pennsylvanians to make their way back to the polls on May 20. Preparing for the election increases the odds of having a positive voting experience, which makes voters more likely to vote again in future elections.”