A Note About Voting Absentee
On the September 4, 2016 show, we recommended that you vote absentee, if possible, instead of using a touchscreen system without a voter-verified paper audit trail.
Now, it’s easy to find out what your state and county provide for you in the polling place. You can check at https://www.verifiedvoting.org/. That’s the non-profit organization we recommended on the show.
If you decide you do want to vote using an absentee ballot, it may not be easy. It depends on where you live! The rules vary from state to state. Wherever you live, of course, you’ll need to plan ahead. Check the rules, and, if you qualify to vote absentee, apply for the ballot way ahead of time. Be sure you make all the deadlines!
Since we mentioned New Jersey and Pennsylvania on the show, we’ll provide information for those states here. For other states, we recommend you check online at the office of the Secretary of State (or Election Commissioner). For unofficial information, you can also consult https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot. (If you look at the very bottom of that web page, you’ll see that you can jump directly to your state, to see the rules, without filling in any personal information.)
For voters registered in New Jersey, it looks like it’s easy. Vote.org says, “Any registered New Jersey voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.” They give instructions at that site on how to get it.
Pennsylvania turns out to be much more restrictive. Here is a link to the rules for absentee voting in Pennsylvania, from vote.org: https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot/pennsylvania/.
When you read through them, you will see many provisions for voters who are in the military, or a dependent of someone who is; or voters who too ill or physically disabled to vote at the polling place; or voters who will be “out of their municipality” on Election Day. (Sorry, we can’t help you interpret the rules to decide if you’re eligible. We can’t handle the responsibility!)
When you consider voting absentee, we urge you to plan ahead (you will probably need to apply weeks early), study the rules carefully, and always be certain to follow the law! And remember, the most reliable information always is going to come from your state or county election offices.
Whether via absentee or not, electronically or not: VOTE!