Who has gone to vote with a family member (in any country)? What happens in a polling place? Who’s in charge? How do people vote there? Discuss students’ experiences and prior knowledge.
Whole Class Instruction
In the previous lesson, students completed a real or hypothetical mail-
in ballot application. In this lesson, they will learn how to complete and return their mail-in ballot, as well as how to find their polling place and to cast their ballot in person. They will also learn how to cast a provisional ballot as a last resort. It’s important to walk students through these processes.
1. Voting By Mail
2. Completing and Returning a Mail-In Ballot
- If you applied early, you should receive your ballot in the mail around the end of September, so research the candidates while you wait. Inside the envelope you will find:
- Secrecy envelope
- Outer envelope (addressed and postage-paid)
- Read the instructions.
- Fill out your ballot in black ink. Dark blue is okay too, but no other colors are accepted!
- Fold your ballot and insert it into the secrecy envelope. Seal it.
- Insert the security envelope into the outer envelope. Seal it.
- Read and sign the Voter’s Declaration on the back of the outer envelope—CAREFUL—your envelope must be signed and your signature must match your signature the state has on file from PennDOT or your Voter Registration form. Complete the information.
- Deliver your completed ballot yourself to a County Election Office as soon as possible, but by 8pm on Election Day at the latest. Ballots delivered after that deadline will not be counted.
- OR mail your ballot through the US Post Office as soon as possible, but well before Election Day. In order to guarantee on-time delivery the USPS recommends mailing your ballot at least 10 days early.
- You must mail or deliver your own ballot, unless you are physically ill or disabled.
- Take an “I voted because ____” selfie for Instagram #VoteThatJawn.
- Make an “I voted because ____” Tik Tok #DanceThatJawn.
- Track the status of your ballot to be sure it’s been received and counted
3. Voting in Person on Election Day
- Find your polling place: Your polling location is printed on your voter registration card. It’s important to check online because many polling locations have changed due to COVID-19. Find your polling location.
- Polls are open from 7am to 8pm on Election Day.
- Make a plan to go to the polls. Research shows that thinking through a plan to vote ahead of time dramatically increases voter turnout. Some things to consider: Some schools are closed on Election Day - is yours? Do you have to work? Do you have childcare, appointments, or other responsibilities on Election Day?
- What form of ID will you bring?
- Acceptable Forms of ID for First-Time Voters include PennDOT ID, Driver’s License, US passport, Voter Registration Card, student ID. You only need to show ID the first time you vote at a polling place, but it’s always good to have with you.
- What time of day will you vote?
- Allow time to wait in line. Lines are usually longest in the morning and evening, and shortest in the afternoon. You must be in line by 8pm to vote. Stay in line! Your vote is important!
- How will you get there?
- Will you walk, skate, ride, drive, use public transit, mosey, or sashay?
- Who will you bring with you?
- Go with friends or family. Bring younger siblings or cousins. They love to push the buttons and get a sticker (as long as you make the choices).
No Matter Which: Go VOTE!
Encourage students who vote to do one or both of the following:
- Take an “I voted because ____” selfie for Instagram and tag @Payouthvote and @committeeof70
- Do an “I voted because ____” dance for the #DanceThatJawn Tik Tok Challenge!
Voting with a Provisional Ballot:
- Problem voting? If for any reason you are told you cannot cast a ballot, and you believe you are eligible, ask for a provisional ballot at your polling place. The Judge of Elections must allow you to vote provisionally. You will be given a paper ballot to complete in the polling place. If the election is close, voters that cast provisional ballots will be investigated for eligibility and their votes will count if valid.
- Call the Election Protection Program 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) if you need help, if someone is denied the right to vote, or if you observe or suspect any wrongdoing in a polling place or with regards to mail-in ballots.
- English: 866-OUR-VOTE (Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law)
- Spanish/English: 888-VE-Y-VOTA (NALEO Educational Fund)
- Arabic/English: 844-YALLA-US (Arab American Institute (AAI))
- Asian Languages/English: 888-API-VOTE (APIAVote & Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)
Check for Understanding
Don’t let anything stand in your way!
Quiz or activity: Pose common roadblocks and problems and ask what students should do to make sure their vote is counted, for
- You don’t have a PennDOT ID.
- Your mail-in ballot never came.
- Your name isn’t in the book at your polling place.
- Your boss says you have to work a double shift on Election Day.
- The poll worker says your signature doesn’t match and you can’t vote.
- The line is crazy long.
Homework: Watch video - Poll Worker Emergency: Young People Needed
- Why is there a need for young people to work the polls?