Do Something

VOTE and get out the vote!

First things first: Make sure you know what you’re doing for the upcoming election.

Here’s a refresher: 

The general election is November 3rd. Make sure you’re registered; the deadline to register for the fall general election is October 19.

If you plan to vote by mail, you must request your ballot by October 27, but you really should do it earlier—USPS recommends by October 19. 

Send in your ballot at least one week before Election Day; you can send it in as early as September 15th. Or plan to drop it off at one of 17 drop boxes.

Or you can vote early at one of  17 satellite election offices

Here’s what’s on the ballot:

Now, do you part to get folks to the polls and help this election run smoothly.


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About voting this year


Work the polls

“To run the elections at full capacity—something everyone agrees is needed this particular year—the city needs about 8,500 citizen poll workers spread around the 800 planned polling stations. Right now, we have about half that number—and even those people are not always guaranteed to show up.”

Sign up with the Voter Project and join the Poll Worker Caucus Facebook group to learn more and stay in the loop.

Voting Drop Boxes Live!

A Thursday night state Supreme Court ruling protects voting rights heading into the November election. Philly 3.0’s engagement director explains why that matters.

Voting Drop Boxes Live!

A Thursday night state Supreme Court ruling protects voting rights heading into the November election. Philly 3.0’s engagement director explains why that matters.

Pennsylvania has a good chance of being the tipping-point state in the November election, according to an analysis from FiveThirtyEight, which gives President Donald Trump an 84-percent chance of winning reelection if he carries the state, and Democratic nominee Joe Biden a 96-percent chance of winning the presidency if he takes Pennsylvania.

That’s raised the stakes dramatically for many of the decisions yet to be made about voting rights in the election, each of which could cause small shifts in either direction.

This week’s state Supreme Court decisions settled things on very favorable terms for the voting rights and election modernization advocates, by significantly protecting Act 77’s expanded voting access measures, as well as voter security in the general election.


The Supreme Court took off the table a few big unknowns, like whether drop boxes for absentee ballots would be allowed (yes, they will), whether mailed-in ballots arriving up to three days after Election Day would be counted (yes), and whether out-of-county poll watchers would be allowed into polling places (no).

Ballots postmarked by 8pm on Election Day on November 3 will be counted if they are received by 5pm on November 6, and are otherwise valid. The Court also decided that “naked” ballots not returned in their secrecy envelope will not be counted, which was the only real downside for voting access advocates in the decision. The Department of State also decided that county boards of elections may not reject ballots due to alleged signature inconsistencies.

Earlier in the week, the Supreme Court also ruled in favor of the Democratic Party’s ballot access challenge to Green Party presidential nominee Howie Hawkins, who was removed from the ballot, ensuring Democratic nominee Joe Biden will have no one competing for votes to his left.

The Green Party case was the last issue to resolve before ballots could be printed, and the city commissioners told Billy Penn’s Max Marin that Philly voters could start seeing their ballots arrive in the mail within 8 to 10 days.

Do SomethingThere’s still time to apply for a mail-in ballot before October 27 and now, thanks to the Supreme Court, those who don’t feel comfortable returning them through the mail will have the option of depositing them in-person at one of 17 drop boxes or 17 satellite election offices around the city, according to the Inquirer.

Voters will be able to begin depositing their ballots as soon as they receive them, in accordance with the 50-day period to turn in an absentee ballot under Act 77, which we are officially in now as of earlier this week.

It’s unclear as of now whether the Supreme Court’s decision on drop boxes will cause state legislative Republicans to retreat from trying to ban them, but for now, the big remaining questions include whether pre-canvassing of ballots will be allowed prior to Election Day, how late in the game counties can send out ballots, and how early before Election Day counties are allowed to fill poll worker vacancies.

Governor Tom Wolf released his four priorities for an election reform bill this week, and these three were the remaining issues, with the fourth—late acceptance of ballots postmarked on Election Day—covered by the Supreme Court decision.

The legislature will continue to debate these options, and perhaps drop boxes as well, over the coming week.

Jon Geeting is the director of engagement at Philadelphia 3.0, a political action committee that supports efforts to reform and modernize City Hall. This is part of a series of articles running on both The Citizen and 3.0’s blog.

It’s election season in Philadelphia. Are you all set to vote? 

Header photo: A ballot dropbox in Center City during the 2020 primary | Photo courtesy Katherine Rapin

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