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Your Guide To Voting On Election Day

Although it’s hard to believe, Election Day is finally here!

After months of campaign and political candidates visiting State College, the electoral cycle will come together Tuesday when millions of Americans cast their ballots.

Whether you’re voting for our next president or your local representative, here’s everything you need to know to vote in this year’s election.

When To Vote

Pennsylvania’s polls will open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, November 3 and stay open until 8 p.m. If you’re in line after hours, don’t leave! Poll workers must count you — it’s the law!

Where To Vote

In a typical election, most Penn State students would vote at the HUB. However, Centre County moved dorm residents’ polling location to the Bryce Jordan Center to help folks space out amid the coronavirus pandemic. White Course residents will still vote at the HUB, however.

Need help getting to the BJC? Last week, UPUA funded free Election Day transportation to and from on-campus polling places. You can hop on outside Thomas Building and Rec Hall until 8 p.m. Tuesday.

To find exactly where you should vote, head over to Centre County’s website to use its handy polling place locator. Registered Centre County voters can also drop off any mail-in ballots at secure drop boxes across town.

What’s On The Ballot?

This year, you’ll get to choose the United States’ next president, Pennsylvania’s next attorney general and state treasurer, and both national and local representatives.

Take a look through our guide to check out what your ballot might look like. Additionally, you can pull up a sample ballot for your exact precinct through the county’s website.

COVID-19 Guidelines

As with most events these days, voters will need to follow a few coronavirus safety guidelines when they head to the polls Tuesday.

  • Although Centre County’s Board of Elections is strongly encouraging voters to wear masks when they vote in person, it can’t mandate mask-wearing at polling locations. Poll workers, however, will be required to wear masks at all times.
  • According to the county’s website, voters will wait in line 6 feet apart and be provided with hand sanitizer upon arrival and exit.
  • Each voter will receive their own pen to mark their ballot. They should keep them after voting to avoid passing them on to others (read: free pen!).
  • Poll workers will wipe down booths and tables after each use.

General Tips & Tricks

  • If it’s your first time voting, be sure to bring proof of identification, like a driver’s license or Penn State ID. Check with Centre County’s list of approved forms of identification before you leave home.
  • Follow any instructions poll workers give you. They know best!
  • Don’t talk about political subjects while you’re at the polls.
  • After the elections desk determines you’re eligible to vote, you sign your name in the poll book. If your address is incorrect here, you’ll need to fill out a form to change it (Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to vote!).
  • When you’re finished voting, tear off the stub on your ballot and place the rest of the ballot in the ballot box.
  • If you’re turned away from the polls for any reason, hit ’em with the ol’, “Give me a provisional ballot with a receipt as required by law.” By law, you have a right to vote.

Although the ballot itself can look a little intimidating at first, it’s actuaally rather easy:

  • Use a black pen.
  • To vote you must blacken the oval to the left of your choice completely. An oval blackened to the left of the name of any candidate indicates a vote for that candidate.
  • If you wish to vote straight party, blacken the oval to the left of your party choice.
  • To cast a write-in vote for a person whose name is not on the ballot, blacken the oval to the left of the line provided and print the name in the blank space provided for that purpose.
  • If you make a mistake, do not erase it. Ask for a new ballot.
  • Remove the stub before casting your ballot.

If you’ve got any questions, feel free to send ’em Centre County’s way by email at any time Tuesday.

Above all else, make sure you vote if you’re able to. We have a great privilege of choosing our representatives, and in a heavy swing state like Pennsylvania, your voice matters a lot! Use it.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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