2020 Election FAQs

Home2020 Election FAQs

Voting in Delaware County FAQs

(Acknowledgement: The Delaware County Democratic Committee would like to thank and acknowledge the Mid-County Democratic Committee for creating and consolidating all the information below for their website and allowing us to use it in this newsletter. You can check out their website here: midcountydems.com for updates. Special thank you to Bonnie Friedman and Marta Driscoll for their hard work.)

  • Who can I call if I have any questions about voting?

The Delaware County Election Bureau has a new one-stop hotline coming soon for all local voting questions:  1-610-891-VOTE (8683).

The PA Dems have a hotline and they are happy to help answer any questions you have.  Please call 1-833-PAVOTES (833-728-6837).

How do I vote at the polls?  What can I expect? What safety precautions will be taken?

Polls will be open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  

You must be a registered voter to vote on Election Day.

If you are a first time voter or it’s your first time voting in your precinct, you will be required to show one of these forms of ID. Check Voter ID for first time voters to see which ID to bring

Expect lines.  A limited number of people will be allowed inside at a time.  If you are in line by 8:00 p.m. you will be allowed to vote.

All poll workers will be required to be masked and gloved.  Some poll workers may be wearing protective plastic shields.

All voters will be encouraged (but cannot be required) to wear a mask inside the polling site.  Disposable masks and hand sanitizer will be available inside.

Poll workers will not be taking temperatures.

Voting is now done by paper ballot.  Pens will be available for use and will be sanitized – or – bring your own black or blue ink pen.

An ADA touch screen with printer will be available for use.

It’s Election Day and I have questions.  I’m being denied the opportunity to vote at my polling place, I felt intimidated walking into my polling place.   Who do I call?

Delaware County Democrats Election Protection team- 610 566 6427; press 1

Delaware County Bureau of Elections – 1-610-891-VOTE (8683).

1-877-VotesPA (1-877-868-3772) is a PA Department of State hotline that will be staffed on Election Day.


  • Mail-In/Absentee Voting

When is the deadline for requesting a mail-in or absentee ballot?

For the General Election on November 3, the Delco Elections Bureau must receive your mail-in or absentee ballot request by 5PM on October 27, 2020, but we recommend that you apply as soon as possible to avoid any possible delay.

How do I check if I already requested a mail-in or absentee ballot?

Go to http://votespa.com/mailballotstatus and fill in the requested information. If you have already applied or selected the “Annual Ballot Request” on an application earlier in the year, you will see a ballot status confirmation similar to the below screenshot.

What is the difference between Mail-In and Absentee ballots?  Which one should I request?

Act 77 of 2019 introduced the “No-Excuse” Mail-in Ballot, that can be used for ANY reason.  Absentee ballots are still available because they are written into the Commonwealth’s Constitution.

You may request a Mail-In ballot for any reason.

You may request an Absentee ballot only if you meet the criteria for being out of state or ill/incapacited on Election Day.   You may be required to provide a doctor’s certification for an Absentee ballot if you are stating you are ill/incapacitated

When in doubt, choose the Mail-In Ballot option.

How do I apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot?

You may visit VotesPA.com to request a mail-in or absentee ballot through an on-line form or to download a form that you can fill out and either mail or bring in-person to the Delco Elections Bureau.

Be sure to enter your name as it appears on your voter registration card (Susan instead of Sue, for instance).

If you apply online, an email address is required. This is used to update you on the status of your ballot. If you fill out a paper form, you can provide your email address to make sure you get these updates.  You will be notified via email when the ballot request has been received and verified.

When you apply for a mail-in ballot, you have the option to be on the Annual Mail-in Ballot list. When you apply for an absentee ballot, you have the option to be on the Annual Absentee Ballot list.

I do not have internet access or a printer at home.  Can I still request a ballot or check the status of my ballot?

Yes!  Contact the Delco Elections Bureau to request a paper application or inquire about ballot status at 610 891 VOTE, or if possible, go to one of the three Voter Service Centers.

What is an Annual Mail-in Ballot?  Do I need to renew my mail-in ballot request each election?

The mail-in ballot application asks if you wish to be on the Annual Mail-in Ballot list.

If you select this option , you will automatically receive a mail in ballot for every election held that same calendar year.  The following year, you will receive an application to renew your mail-in ballot preference.  Annual mail-in ballot status does not automatically transfer from year to year.

If you do not select this option, you will need to submit a new application for a mail-in ballot the next time you wish to vote by mail.

What is an Annual Absentee Ballot? 

The absentee ballot application asks if you wish to be on the Annual Absentee Ballot list.  If you have a permanent illness or disability that requires you to vote via Absentee Ballot each election, the Annual Absentee Ballot option may be right for you.

If you select this option, you will automatically receive an absentee ballot for every election held that same calendar year.  The following year, you will receive an application to renew your absentee ballot preference.  Annual absentee ballot status does not automatically transfer from year to year.

If you do not select this option, you will need to submit a new application for an absentee ballot the next time you wish to vote by mail.

When will I receive my ballot?

The county began mailing ballots on October 3rd with over 100k ballots sent in the first wave. They will continue to send them on a regular basis

If you supplied an email address, you will receive an email when your ballot has been mailed.  You can also check http://votespa.com/mailballotstatus .  The “Ballot Mailed” field will be populated when your ballot has been mailed.

What is a naked ballot?

When ballots are mailed to voters, there are two envelopes in the packet they receive: a smaller secrecy envelope marked “OFFICIAL ELECTION BALLOT” and a larger mailing envelope upon which is printed “VOTER’S DECLARATION” on the back side and which is addressed to the County Bureau of Elections. Naked ballots are mail-in and absentee ballots that arrive at the Bureau of Elections without the inner “secrecy envelopes.”

A recent ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court determined that “a mail-in ballot that is not enclosed in the statutorily mandated secrecy envelope must be disqualified.” In other words, so-called “naked ballots” are rendered invalid. Prior to this year, Delaware County has operated in accordance with this rule, and it will follow the law as determined by the PA Supreme Court. Voters should carefully follow the instructions included alongside their mail-in or absentee ballot. The ballot should be placed in the secrecy envelope and securely sealed. This envelope should then be placed in the larger mailing envelope. Please see diagram below:

I don’t want to go to the polls, but I also don’t trust the mail.  Do I have any options to vote?

Yes! Beginning Thursday, October 1, 2020, you may go to one of the three Voter Service Centers to apply for, mark, and return a vote-by-mail ballot all in one stop – or to simply return your completed mail-in ballot.  You may need to show proof of ID if you haven’t already been approved to receive a ballot by mail. To speed things up, bring your completed application for a mail-in or absentee ballot.  You can print an application form and complete it in advance:

If you arrive at the Voter Service Center and do not have an application, one will be provided.

Don’t forget to bring your list of endorsed candidates with you!

Allow approximately 15 minutes for your application to be processed, your ballot printed, and for you to complete the ballot.

The locations of the three Voter Service Centers are:

1) Media Government Center/Courthouse. Hours: MWF 8:30am – 4:30pm, TTh 8:30am – 8:00pm, Sat 9am – noon

2) Chester City Hall. Hours: M-F 9am – 2pm, Sat 10am-2pm

3) Upper Darby, 20 S. 69th St. Hours: MWF 7:30am – 2pm, Sat 10am-2pm

I have completed my mail-in/absentee ballot.  How can I ensure my completed ballot is received and counted? 

Bring your completed  ballot directly to the Delco Elections Bureau by November 1.  The Bureau will log it as received while you are there.  Similarly, you can also bring it to one of the Voter Service Centers (hours listed above):

Chester City Hall , 1 E 4th St Chester, PA 19013

Human Services Office, 20 S. 69th Street, 4th Fl. Upper Darby, PA 19082

Vote in person on election day, November 3.  (Read the General Voting FAQ for more information about how to turn in your ballot and vote in person).

Delaware County will be installing a secure drop box outside the Government Center in Media that will allow you to drop your ballot off 24 hours a day.  Additional drop-boxes will be installed across Delaware County. Locations are still being determined and drop-boxes installed and secured. The website showing where they will be placed is here: https://delcopa.gov/vote/ballotdropbox.html

In addition:

  • You will not be able to return your completed ballot to your polling place to your polling place. This option was only available by exception for the June 2020 primary.
  • Be sure to put your completed ballot in the mail no later than October 20.  If you provided an email address on your application, you will receive an email when it has been received back at the Elections Bureau.  Or, check http://votespa.com/mailballotstatus .  The “Ballot Received” field will be populated when your ballot has been received by the County.
  • If you choose to not vote in person, your mail-in or absentee ballot must be received by the Elections Bureau or deposited in a drop box no later than 8:00 PM on November 3, 2020 in order to be counted. (Some drop boxes may be closed earlier- check DelcoVotes! Dropbox page for updates.

I live in an Assisted Living facility.  Can someone turn my ballot in for me?

You may not have someone other than yourself put your ballot in a mail-in ballot drop box location or otherwise return it to the Bureau of Elections (including a Voter Service Center) unless you follow the steps below.  This could be considered “ballot harvesting” and your ballot could be challenged.

If you are disabled or incapacitated, someone may bring a mail-in or absentee ballot to the Delco Elections Bureau only if they follow these steps:

Step 1: Fill out your ballot, seal it in the privacy envelope, and then seal the privacy envelope in the outer envelope. The outer envelope must be signed as indicated in the instructions you received with your ballot.

Step 2: Print and complete the Designation of Agent to Assist Disabled Voter in Voting by Absentee or Alternative Ballot form. Anyone you choose can serve as your Designated Agent, so long as they can accurately sign the Certification of Agent form (see Step 3).

Step 3: Have your Designated Agent print and complete the Certification of Agent form.

Step 4: Your Designated Agent should take the signed, sealed envelope containing your ballot and both forms (see Steps 2 and 3) to the Elections Bureau

Step 5: Your Designated Agent should hand the two completed forms (see Steps 2 and 3) to the person at the counter in the Elections Bureau


I have changed my mind and don’t want to be on the Annual ballot list.  Can I rescind my request for an Annual mail-In ballot?

Yes.  If you selected the annual mail-in ballot option with your mail-in ballot application, you may cancel your annual mail-in ballot status by completing and returning this form to the Delaware County Elections Bureau.

I requested a mail-in or absentee ballot, but I have decided that I want to vote in person.  Can I cancel my ballot request for this election and vote in person?

While you may cancel a request to be added to the Annual Mail-in Ballot list (see FAQ), it is not possible to cancel a mail-in ballot request for just one election.   But, you do not have to return the mail-in/absentee ballot.  To vote in person after requesting a mail-in ballot, bring the ballot and the signature envelope with you to your polling place.  The Judge of Elections at your polling place will take the ballot from you and “spoil it”.  You will need to sign a statement attesting to the spoiling of your ballot.  Then you will be able to vote via a regular ballot. (If you do not have BOTH the ballot and the signature envelope, you will only be allowed to vote provisionally.)

It is very important that you bring not just your ballot but also the signature envelope with you if you want to vote “on the machine”.  To be safe, bring all envelopes and the ballot with you – you won’t need it anymore.

I requested a mail-in or absentee ballot but I have not received it and it is now Election Day.  What should I do?

If in the week or so before Election Day, go to the Bureau of Elections or a Voter Service Center to request a replacement ballot.  If by Election Day, you have still not received a ballot and you have not voted by a replacement ballot, go to your polling place. The poll book should show that you were sent a ballot, but it should also show that a completed ballot has not been received back at the Elections Bureau.  As long as both of these are true, the Judge of Elections should allow you to vote via a Provisional Ballot.  You will not be able to vote via a Regular Ballot because the Elections Bureau must verify that they do not already have a completed ballot from you that arrived by 8pm that day before they count your Provisional Ballot.    This ensures that you are not allowed to vote twice.  

My completed mail-in/absentee ballot was received by the Elections Bureau.  But, I want to change my vote.   May I vote again or cancel my voted ballot?

No.  Once the Elections Bureau has received your completed ballot, you may not cancel your ballot or change your vote.



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