Guidance on Where Students Can Vote in the 2020 General Election:
The 2020 election presents unique circumstances in terms of where college students can register to vote. Based on guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of State, we recommend that students do the following:
If you are a student who is already registered in Pennsylvania but staying at home this semester, you can request a Pennsylvania absentee ballot to be sent to your current address, OR you can register and vote where you will be living from the registration deadline through Election Day. Seniors‘ ballots may have a higher chance of being contested, as it is somewhat uncertain whether or not they will return to Pennsylvania.
If you are not already registered in Pennsylvania and are not living in Pennsylvania this semester, but have previously lived in Pennsylvania for at least 30 days, you can either register in Pennsylvania using your old address and have an absentee ballot sent to your current address, OR you can register and vote where you will be living from the registration deadline through Election Day.
If you were previously registered in Pennsylvania but have since registered at your current address outside of Pennsylvania, then you are ineligible to vote in Pennsylvania this fall. We suggest voting where you will be living during the fall semester.
If you have never before lived in Pennsylvania and are currently living outside of Pennsylvania, then you are ineligible to vote in Pennsylvania this fall. We suggest voting where you will be living during the fall semester.
Our guidance is based on information from the Pennsylvania Department of State. In addition, both federal law (Higher Education Act of 1965) and Supreme Court precedent says that students can vote where they attend school. Furthermore, Pennsylvania requires that voters must be a resident of the state for at least 30 days between when they register and Election Day, which disqualifies those who have never lived and are currently not living in Pennsylvania. These 30 days do not need to be the 30 days directly before the election.
Guidance on Signature Matching for Pennsylvania Voters:
Pennsylvania mail-in ballots must be signed by the voter. The ballot signature must match the voter’s registration signature. The mail-in ballot may be disqualified by election officials if the signatures do not match, and the vote will not count.
Similarly, voters who appear in person to vote on Election Day must also sign in. An election official will compare the sign-in signature with the voter’s registration signature before permitting the voter to proceed.
If you are worried you do not remember your signature, re-register to vote at pennvotes.org/register before the registration deadline.