Voters across the country will head to the polls on Nov. 3 to cast their ballots in the historic 2020 election. Follow The Brown and White’s coverage all day on our website at thebrownandwhite.com and our Twitter @LUBrownWhite.
Registered Pennsylvania voters will have the opportunity to vote in-person at their designated polling location, which you can find here. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Already, though, in part due to the pandemic, record levels of early voting have taken place, with about 93 million Americans having already cast their ballots. Out of Pennsylvania’s nine million registered voters, 3.1 million mail-in ballots were approved — almost 2.5 million of which have already been returned, according to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar.
Boockvar, the state’s top election official, is urging voters who received their mail-in ballot but have not returned it yet not to send their ballot to their county election office through the postal service to avoid delays. Instead, voters should deliver their ballot to one of their county’s drop boxes or directly to their county’s election office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 will be counted so long as they arrive to the county’s election office by Nov. 6 at 5 p.m.
Voters must follow the instructions included with their mail-in ballot to ensure that their votes are counted. The Elections Office reminds voters to only use blue or black ink and to sign and date the back of the return envelope before sending it in.
Ballots must be enclosed in an inner blank secrecy envelope. Otherwise, they will be “naked” ballots and will be void. Secrecy envelopes must not have any stray markings, text, or symbols that reveal the identity of the elector or that voter’s political preference.
Voters who applied for but did not receive their mail-in ballot by Nov. 3 should either cast a provisional ballot in-person at the polls or call the Elections Office at 610-829-6260 for assistance. Northampton County announced it had mailed all of its 84,913 approved mail-in ballots as of Oct. 28.
Voters who applied for a mail-in ballot but would rather vote in-person at the polls must bring both their ballot and return envelope with them. Those who do not have their ballot and return envelope will only be able to cast a provisional ballot at the polls.
Pennsylvania is lined up to play a major role in determining the next president of the United States. The Keystone State’s 20 electoral votes went narrowly to President Donald Trump in 2016, who became the first Republican presidential candidate since 1988 to win Pennsylvania.
Northampton County is one of a handful of counties in Pennsylvania that could dictate which way the state leans. The county supported President Barack Obama in 2012 before flipping red to back Trump four years ago. In fact, only three Pennsylvania counties — Northampton, Erie and Luzerne — voted for Obama twice before supporting Trump.
And the two major party campaigns know the importance of the Lehigh Valley. Trump rallied thousands of supporters on Oct. 26 and Democratic vice presidential nominee and Sen. Kamala Harris spoke in the region on Nov. 2 — with her husband previously stopping in Allentown on Oct. 28.