Maren, a Baby Boomer, has taught pre-school through college. She loves holidays, and playing in the snow.
The SECRECY Envelope for PA Mail-In Voting
Do It Right - Vote!
Don’t let your Pennsylvania Election Board throw your vote in the trash. To have your vote count, you MUST do these 4 things.
Your vote is more important than an American vote has been in a century.
You know that!
Sadly, Pennsylvania has one of the most complicated systems for doing vote-by-mail. We have heard unofficial feedback from one Board of Elections that they are receiving close to 50 ballots per day which they will be throwing out and NOT COUNTING.
What! How can they know that if they are not permitted to start opening and counting mailed votes until November 3rd? Keep reading.
Here’s how to do it right and have your voice heard.
1. Open Carefully and Save the 2 Enclosed Envelopes
My Pennsylvania mail-in ballot contained 2 envelopes and the ballot.
It also had a small instruction sheet (about 3 inches by 8 inches.)
Save the 2 envelopes included in your voting packet!
2. Use a Blue or Black Pen to Fill in Boxes on Ballot
Blue pen or black pen. Easy enough. Test your pen on scrap paper before you start your voting.
Ballot Goes Into This Envelope First
3. Do NOT Have a NAKED Ballot
“Naked ballot” is the expression that PA officials are using for a ballot that was returned without being sealed in the plain smaller envelope they gave the voter. You can easily spot it because it lacks a pre-printed address.
During the Spring 2020 primary elections, the county election boards statewide were ordered to accept naked ballots.
Want to guess how many voters across the state sent their vote incorrectly – “naked” – without the inner envelope?
Forty thousand! This is how many votes would have been pitched. That number of votes could change who wins and who loses.
And frighteningly, for the REAL general election, naked ballots will be pitched in Pennsylvania.
Local Election Boards are already getting defective mailed ballots in October 2020. Without opening the ballots, the staff can see the lack of signature and hand-written address on the outside OR not enough weight to have BOTH envelopes.
In my county alone, officials have revealed that they suspect they are receiving 50 mailed ballots PER DAY which will be thrown in the trash.
50 times 20 days equals 1,000 votes NOT COUNTED in my one county. This reeks of vote suppression.
Put your ballot into the “secrecy” envelope.
It does not have the word “secrecy” printed on it, but it may have the words “Official Ballot” or something similar. Seal it. Then put this envelope into the other return envelope. It is easy to know which one is the outer envelope because it has a preprinted address on it.
For this fall 2020 election, no postage is required to be added on Pennsylvania mail in ballots.
Voter Shows the Envelopes
4. Sign and Complete All Spaces on Outer Envelope
You must sign the back of the envelope where indicated. Do not stress out on how your signature was in your registration. A federal court ruled in October 2020 that Pennsylvania voters do not need to create a photo-perfect duplicate on the mail in ballot envelope.
Also, you must hand-write your address and the date upon which you are voting. If your address is pre-printed on the outer envelope, rewrite it EXACTLY the way it is shown.
In my county, if you make a mistake with the date on this outer envelope, you may cross it out, write the correct one, and then initial beside the correction.
Mail this ballot as fast as possible OR hand deliver it to your county’s Board of Elections office or the official ballot drop box. You may not carry in other people’s ballots. Just deliver your own.
The Outer Envelope for PA Mail-In Voting
Local Election Boards are already getting defective mailed ballots. Without opening them, they can see the lack of signature on the outside OR not enough weight to have BOTH envelopes.
DO IT RIGHT! Use both envelopes.
Sign the back!
Sign the Back and Write Your Address
Get Out The Vote
Our government is better when everyone has a say.
Make sure your mail-in Pennsylvania ballot is completed correctly so that your voice is heard.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Maren Elizabeth Morgan
Maren Elizabeth Morgan (author) from Pennsylvania on October 15, 2020:
Linda Crampton, Sometimes the independence of our 50 states plus 6 territories may not be good - I refer to voting hours and practices in each. Pennsylvania makes voting much more difficult to accomplish then do many other states. What is voting like in Canada? Uniform practices or varied among provinces?
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 14, 2020:
Though I can't vote in the election, I appreciate the fact that you've shared the instructions, Maren. This election is very important, and perhaps not only for the United States.