Wednesday, April 07, 2021

NorCo Elections Office Answers Questions For May 18 Primary

While the Presidential election is what attracts the most voters, municipal primaries are what attract the most candidates. In Northampton County, there are 482. Whomever is elected will have more impact on your day-to-life than Donald Trump or Joe Biden. It is the local officials who decide whether your street gets plowed or that pothole gets filled. These are the "servants" who will nickle and dime you with annual tax hike (if you live in Bethlehem) or stormwater fees enacted with only minimal notice.

The elections office and NorCo spokesperson Becky Bartlett have come up with answers to frequently asked questions:

What will be on the ballot?
County-wide offices, candidates for municipal offices, state judges, magisterial judgeships, a County-wide Home Rule Charter amendment and four stateside ballot measures: Equal Rights Regardless of Race or Ethnicity Amendment, Emergency Declarations Amendment, Legislative Resolution to Extend or Terminate Emergency Declaration Amendment and Making Municipal Fire and Emergency Medical Services Companies Eligible for Loans.
 
Who can vote in the Primary Election?
Registered Democrats and Republicans can vote for candidates running on their party’s ticket. All registered voters can vote on the County-wide Home Rule Charter amendment, stateside ballot measures or referendum questions.

Can I vote by mail?
Yes. Act 77, which was passed in 2019, allows for no excuse mail-in voting. Applications for a mail-in or civilian absentee ballot must be received by May 11th and are available in the Election’s Office or online at VotesPA.com or NorthamptonVotes.com

How do I know my application has been accepted or if my ballot has been received?
Citizens who sign up on VotesPA.com will receive emails about their application/ballot status. Voters who applied on paper can track the status of their ballot at VotesPA.com once the state makes that tool available.

Why did I get an email saying my application for a mail-in ballot has been declined?
It’s likely that a duplicate application was filed or the application lacked a signature or a verifiable ID. Contact the Elections Office for assistance at 610-829-6260 or elections@northamptoncounty.org 

When will ballots go out in the mail?
Ballots will start being mailed out in April. Voters can check the status of their ballot on-line at VotesPA.com

I’m worried about getting my mail-in ballot back to the Elections Office on time.
To be counted, ballots must be returned to the Election’s Office by 8:00PM on May 18th. The return envelope must be signed and dated and the ballot must enclosed in a sealed privacy envelope. We recommend voters return their ballot as soon as possible or at least get it in the mail by May 5th.

What kind of stamp should I use to mail my ballot back?
Return envelopes require a first-class stamp or postage if they are mailed back to the Elections Office.

Do I have to return my ballot by mail?
No. Ballots can be returned directly to the Election’s Office at the Government Center at 669 Washington Street, Easton, PA 18042 or at one of the secure ballot drop boxes stationed around the County. (Boxes will be installed when ballots become available.)

Can someone else deliver my ballot to the Elections Office?
No. PA State Law states that voters may only drop off their own ballot. If you come into the office, you may be asked for your ID. If you drop off someone else’s ballot because they are physically unable to do so, you will be asked for a signed “Certification of Designated Agent” form. A copy of the form can be downloaded at VotesPA.com

Can I vote using Ballot on Demand?
Yes, Ballot on Demand will be available in the Election Office at the Government Center when ballots become available until 4:30PM on May 11th. You need to bring an ID with you to the office.

I requested a mail-in ballot but now I want to vote in-person at the polls.
Voters who prefer to use the machines can bring their mail-in ballot and the return envelope to the polls. The Judge of Election will spoil the ballot and ask the voter to complete a “Declaration to Surrender Ballot” form before allowing them vote on the ExpressVote XL machine.

Will the polls be open on May 18th?
Yes. As of right now, the Election’s Office plans on staffing all 156 precincts with 315 voting machines.

Have the ExpressVote XL machines been tested?
 Yes. The machines will undergo testing before the Primary on May 18th. The machines performed very well for both elections in 2020.

Have any polling locations changed?

Easton 3rd Ward 3rd District has been moved to the Kirby Sports Center 700 W Pierce Street, Easton
 
Hanover Township District #1 has been moved to Brith Sholom at 1190 W. Macada Road.

Do I have to wear a mask at the polls? What about the poll workers?
All poll workers are required to wear masks. We strongly request that voters wear masks out of respect to the people who volunteer in our elections.

Who should voters call if they have problems or questions either before or on Election Day?
The Northampton County Elections Office: 610-829-6260 or elections@northamptoncounty.org 

Our democracy increases in strength the more we all participate. If you, or someone you know, has an interest in taking a more active role, please consider becoming a poll worker. Poll workers are paid for their training time and work on Election Day. https://www.northamptoncounty.org/CTYADMN/ELECTNS/Pages/PollWorkers.aspx

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What question that should be asked is why did Willie Reynolds act like a jerk in the debate last night. He falsely accused Dana of lying.

Anonymous said...

Any buddy who is running for any of these positions should be required to have a documented residence in the municipality they are running in for at least 2 years, and if it is the county it should be 3 years and if it is the state it should be 5 years. And they should not be allowed to run for an office in a non residence location during any of those periods or it restarts the clock.