Midterm Elections: Register to Vote through CHS
Midterm elections are coming up, and we want to make sure everyone is registered to vote. Voting is an easy way to not only advocate for your rights, but to advocate for those who may not have the ability to speak as loudly as you. In Pennsylvania, Governor, U.S. Senator, U.S. House Representative, and Lieutenant Governor are all up for election this 2018 midterm cycle. To see who is on the ballet for the general election on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, you can view Democratic and Republican candidates here, along with minor-party candidates and other helpful information. Voting is your civic duty, and a chance for you to choose who represents you in Allegheny County and/or Washington. Your vote counts, and if you ever doubt that, just remember that the politicians currently holding their positions did not wake up with those jobs. They are there because of votes. So let’s all show up on November 6 and vote.
Here are some important dates to remember:
October 9 – Last day to register to vote in Pennsylvania
November 6 – Day of the general election. VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!
Between now and October 9 – Register to vote through CHS
CHS will have voter registration forms available beginning Friday, September 21 at our food pantry location (370 Lawn Street in South Oakland) and at our main office location (2525 Liberty Avenue in the Strip District). We’ll help you fill the form out and send in the voter registration form for you. All you need to bring with you is the desire to vote. If you need to fill out the Address Confidentially Program (ACP) application to keep your address information out of public records, we will help you fill that out too. Your safety matters to us, and we want to make sure this does not prevent you from registering to vote. This application provides a substitute address for all public records, giving survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking the ability to vote with anonymity. For more information on the ACP application, please visit The National Network to End Domestic Violence and view their list of currently available programs.
You have the right to vote. While Pennsylvania employers are not lawfully obligated to provide employees time off to vote, employers may not bribe, threaten, or fire employees for voting or not voting. They also cannot punish employees for how they vote. This is guaranteed by the First Amendment. Voting on November 6 is from 7am to 8pm, and if you are in line before or at the time the polls close, you will be allowed to cast your vote. If you have a disability or are over 65 and cannot physically travel to a polling location, there are other voting options available for you.
Know what to bring with you. If you have voted at your polling location before, you do not need to bring ID to vote. Only voters who are voting for the first time in their election district need to show ID.
Acceptable forms of identification are: driver’s license, U.S. passport, military, student, or employee ID, voter registration card, firearm permit, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or any ID issued by the commonwealth or federal government.
Know where to vote. Finding polling place information can sometimes be difficult, so if you’re not sure where to vote in your district, you can look up that information on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania website. This is also where you can check your registration status if you register for the first time this year. I just registered in Pennsylvania not too long ago and was able to easily check my status here. Not only does this site provide information on where to vote and what to bring with you, it lets you know what your rights are once you have arrived at your polling location. Remember, in Pennsylvania it is illegal for any person or corporation through intimidation or coercion to induce or compel a person to vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate or on a particular political issue. The only person who has the right to tell you how to vote is you. Not your family, friends, strangers, campaign volunteers, social media, the media, or us here at CHS. And most importantly, vote for who you feel will do the job best, not just by which party they affiliate themselves with. I have voted across party lines several times. Do not feel obligated to vote one way versus another. Mix it up. Vote for honesty and integrity, not whether they are Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, etc.
Know if you are eligible to vote. To register to vote in Pennsylvania, you must (1) have been a U.S. citizen for at least 1 month before the next election, (2) be 18 years old by the next election, and (3) have been a resident of Pennsylvania and the district you wish to vote in for at least 30 days before the next election. Those who are on parole and/or probation are eligible to vote. You are only ineligible to vote if you are currently incarcerated for a felony conviction. However, voting rights are automatically restored when you are no longer incarcerated, and it is recommended that you re-register to vote once you are out.
According to the U.S. Bureau’s estimate in 2017, the current population in Allegheny County is 1.23 million with 926,156* registered to vote. That means there are over 300,000 unregistered voters in Allegheny County alone. So register to vote! The future depends on it.
For more information about registering to vote through CHS, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHS Development Specialist
*As of May 2018, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State archives