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ODP Encourages you to Vote!

Today is the last day to register!

An image of a sandwich board reading "VOTING DAY" next to a roll of stickers reading 'I VOTED'Election day is right around the corner! The PA Office of Developmental Programs encourages all individuals, families, and professionals to (safely!) cast their ballot by the November 3 election day. COVID-19 has introduced many barriers to our everyday lives, and we've seen many changes to ballot-casting in response. While it is important to keep all health and safety guidelines at the front of your mind, it is equally important to exercise your right to vote. This article will provide helpful tips, resources, and timelines to make sure your vote is counted safely. 

Register to Vote

If you have not registered to vote, you still have time. Today, October 19, 2020, is the deadline to register in Pennsylvania, and registering to vote has never been easier. Voters can register online at this link. Mail-in registration forms are also available. Once your voter registration is confirmed, there are multiple options for officially casting your ballot! Again, today is the last day to register to vote in the November 3 election!

 

Why Should We Vote?

Voting is your right. Historically, this right was denied to people with intellectual disabilities. ODP wants to ensure that everyone that wishes to vote has the opportunity to do so. As United States residents, voting is our opportunity to choose who we wish to represent us in government. Our representatives should work towards our interests, so choosing someone to represent us in government is one way that we can help to build the future we envision for ourselves.

 

Important Dates

As a recap, here are the important dates to keep in mind:

Your Choice on How to Vote

You can vote by mail or in person.

By Mail

Voters can apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot online at votesPA.com/applymailballot or using a paper form, which is available for download in the VotesPA.com Resource Center.

Tips for Voting by Mail
    1. Mark your ballot. Be sure to vote both sides of the ballot, if applicable. Follow the instructions that came with your ballot.
    2. Place your voted ballot in the white secrecy envelope that indicates official ballot and seal it. Do not make any marks on the secrecy envelope.
    3. Place the sealed secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed outer return envelope and seal it.
    4. Complete, sign and date the pre-addressed outer return envelope.
    5. Return your ballot. If you are mailing your ballot, no postage is necessary for this election. If you are dropping off your ballot in person, check your county election website for times and locations. You can also find information on votesPA.com/dropbox and votesPA.com/earlyvoting

In Person

Voters can use the online lookup tool at VotesPA.com/polls to check the location of their assigned polling place.

Tips for Voting In Person
    • Wear a mask.
    • Wash your hands before and after voting.
    • Bring your own blue- or black-ink pen to use.
    • Practice social distancing, maintaining at least a six-foot distance from others.
    • Follow poll workers' instructions.

NOTICE: Be advised that voters who arrive without a mask may be asked to wear a mask but will not be denied the right to enter the polling place and vote.


Voting Assistance

You have a right to have assistance, if needed. Voters who need assistance completing their ballot should contact their county boards of election for information about the process for receiving assistance. You can find county contact information at VotesPA.com/county.


Resources

You'll find a list of resources in this section including a webinar from October 6, 2020 conducted by the Temple Institute on Disabilities. The webinar for individuals and families features self-advocates who are currently in the process of voting explaining their experiences, challenges, and success with the ballot-casting process. PA ASERT also has a wealth of voting resources for individuals and families including social stories and tool kits for individuals with disabilities and/or autism. In addition, Self Advocates Becoming Empowered's Go Voter resource page offers resources created by self-advocates for self-advocates.


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