By Shana Carey
Opinions Editor and Marketing Editor
The next election is just around the corner during the Covid-19 pandemic. And new voters don’t know where to start. With registration, mail-in ballots, and traditional polling, the voting procedure is more unique than ever. Mr. Bull, US Government and Politics teacher, says, “Voting isn’t hard. It’s like ordering food at Sheetz.”
According to Mr. Bull registration is vital to the voting process. He says that people will be denied to vote if they are not registered by Oct. 19, 2020. He suggests looking at https://www.votespa.com/ for detailed election information.
In order to register, students need to visit https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/. Here, they can fill out their name, personal information, and political party. They can also apply for a mail-in ballot.
Mail-in and Absentee Ballots
For voters that want to remain socially distanced, they can request mail-in ballots without a reason when they register. Absentee ballots are reserved for those that are disabled or out of their municipality during election day. All mail-in and absentee ballot applications are due by Oct. 27, 2020 at 5 p.m..
Mr. Bull says that Mail-in voting is a viable method of voting. He says that there is no evidence of fraud through this voting process. Although ballots are not required until a few days before the election, Mr. Bull suggests mailing in these ballots well in advance.
He also advises students to sign them as neatly as possible. According to him, the government will throw away votes because they are not legible. Overall, Mr. Bull said, “if you are okay with Covid, I recommend going to the polls.”
Going to the polls is somewhat daunting to new voters, according to Mr. Bull. He said that the first step is finding which polling place a student should go. “This can easily be looked up online,” Mr. Bull said.
The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2020. “I’m sure it’ll be slower than normal with the Covid procedures,” Mr. Bull said, “expect to wait a long time.” He suggests planning ahead in order to reduce wait times.
He says that early morning and after work hours are usually the busiest. If their schedule permits, Mr. Bull recommends people go during daytime hours. He also wants voters to know that if they get to the polls before 8 p.m. and are in line as the polls close, they still have the legal right to vote.
Pennsylvania does not require any form of identification, but Mr. Bull says to bring a driver’s license or school id just in case.
Once voters are there, Mr. Bull says that poll workers guide them through the new processes and help them to cast their ballot. “It’s not hard,” Mr. Bull says, “but it’s somewhat intimidating.”
New voters may feel nervous or confused, but they can always ask for help according to Mr. Bull. He tells students to “talk about it with your parents.” He says that this can relieve the stress of going registering and voting for the first time.
According to Mr. Bull, his best advice to students is to do a little research before voting. He says to find out what the candidates stand for and how that aligns with your views. Voters can easily research candidates online and learn about local politicians that are running. “Don’t just vote to vote,” Mr. Bull said, “vote educated.”