Centre County Elections

FAQs

Find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions below. If you still need help, please visit our Contact Us page.

Vote-by-Mail

What are the options for returning my mail-in or absentee ballot?

If you request a mail-in ballot for the 2021 Municipal Election you have four main options for voting. They are:

  1. Put the mail-in ballot in a designated secure ballot drop box. Ballots must be returned to a drop box by 8pm on Tuesday, November 2, 2021.
  2. Return the mail-in ballot directly to the Main Entrance of the Willowbank Building, 420 Holmes St, in Bellefonte. Ballots will be accepted for in-person return from:
    • Monday, October 18 – Tuesday, November 2, 2021, Monday -Friday from 8:30 -5:00 pm
  3. Surrender your mail-in ballot and return envelope with barcode at your polling location on Election Day.  You will surrender your mail-in ballot and return envelope with barcode to the poll workers and fill out a form that voids the mail-in ballot. Then you will be given a regular ballot that will be voted at your polling location.
  4. If you are unable to bring your mail-in ballot to your polling location on Election Day, you will be given a provisional ballot at your polling location when you come to vote. The provisional ballot will be verified in the days following the election. Here’s more information regarding provisional ballots: https://www.votespa.com/Voting-in-PA/Pages/Voting-by-Provisional-Ballot.aspx.

How do I vote by mail?

Please visit Vote By Mail for more information.

I have requested my vote-by-mail ballot. When can I expect to receive it?

Ballots for the 2021 Municipal Elections will begin to be mailed out on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. The turnaround time from approving a vote-by-mail ballot application to mailing out the ballot is 48 hours.

Can someone else return my completed vote-by-mail ballot?

Generally speaking, no. Only the voter can return their own vote-by-mail ballot.

Exceptions do exist for individuals with a physical disability or an emergency absentee voter. In these cases, a voter should complete a Designated Agent Form that can be used by someone else do the following:

  • submit a completed paper ballot application to the Centre County Board of Elections
  • pick up a ballot for the voter to complete
  • deliver or mail the completed ballot to the Centre County Board of Elections.

Please call the Centre County Elections Office at (814) 355-6703 with any questions regarding the designation of agent form.

Will “naked” vote-by-mail ballots be counted?

No.

On September 17, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that an absentee or mail-in ballot that is not enclosed in the secrecy envelope must be disqualified.

Can a vote-by-mail ballot be rejected for mismatching signatures?

No.

On September 11, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of State released guidance regarding acceptance of mail-in and absentee ballots. From page 3 of the guidance, “[t]he Pennsylvania Election Code does not authorize the county board of elections to set aside returned absentee or mail-in ballots based solely on signature analysis by the county board of elections.”

Further, the Pennsylvania Election Code does not have a process for rejecting vote-by-mail ballots due to a mismatched signature. As long as there is any marking in the Voter’s Declaration signature box the Centre County Board of Elections will accept the ballot.

If the Board of Elections received a vote-by-mail ballot that has a missing signature on the Voter’s Declaration, the Board will send to the voter a letter alerting them of the error. The voter will need to call the Elections Office and schedule a time to come to the Elections Office to sign the Voter’s Declaration. The voter will be asked to show ID similar to that of what is asked for a first-time voter at a polling location. Any vote-by-mail ballot still lacking a signature at 8:00PM on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 will not be counted. The voter will receive a second letter notifying them their ballot was not counted due to lack of signature.

I have received my vote-by-mail ballot but want to vote in-person on Election Day at my polling location. Can I still vote in-person on Election Day?

Yes. You should save your vote-by-mail ballot and return/voter declaration envelope and bring it to your polling location on Election Day.

When you arrive at the check-in table at your polling location you can surrender your mail-in ballot and return/voter declaration envelope to a poll worker. The poll worker will then give you a form that you fill out that will void your mail-in ballot. Then you will sign into the poll book and be given a regular ballot that you can vote at your polling location and place into the ballot scanner.

What happens if someone votes by mail and then tries to vote on Election Day at their polling location?

The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot for the 2021 Municipal Election is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. Once all the applications for vote-by-mail ballots are processed, the poll books are printed for Election Day. When voting in-person on Election Day there is an area in the poll book for each voter’s signature. For voters that request a vote-by-mail ballot there will not be a signature line. Instead there will be a message that says they are not eligible to cast a regular ballot due to requesting or returning a vote-by-mail ballot. If the voter believes this is an error they can still cast a provisional ballot.

Provisional ballots are not opened and counted until all regular ballots are counted. Each provisional ballot is cross-referenced with the Election Day poll books and the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (SURE) system. Anyone who casts a provisional ballot on Election Day received a barcode with a number unique to their ballot, a phone number, and a website to track if their vote was completely counted, partially counted, or not counted. (More information on provisional ballots is available here.)

If someone casts a provisional ballot at their polling location on Election Day and has also returned a vote-by-mail ballot their provisional ballot will not count. If someone casts a provisional ballot at their polling location on Election Day and has not returned their vote-by-mail ballot their provisional ballot will count.

How can I track that status of my vote-by-mail ballot?

Centre County voters can see the status of their mail-in or absentee ballot online. Track your ballot’s progress from when your county receives your application, to when they receive your voted ballot. Visit votesPA.com/MailBallotStatus and enter your information.

Are postmarks acceptable for returning my vote-by-mail ballot?

The Centre County Board of Elections encourages voters to return their own voted mail-in ballots to the Centre County Elections Office or a secure ballot drop box by Election Day by 8:00 p.m.

How do I remove myself from the permanent absentee ballot or mail-in ballot list?

Voters who signed up to receive an absentee ballot or a mail-in ballot have the option of requesting to receive an application to renew their absentee or mail-in ballot request each year. This application will be mailed to voters prior to each Municipal Election. After your annual application is approved, you will automatically receive ballots for all elections occurring the remainder of the year. You do not need to submit an application for each election. The county will send you an annual renewal form so you can continue receiving ballots each year.

Voters registered in Centre County who no longer wish to receive an application for absentee or mail-in ballots each year can request to cancel their permanent absentee ballot or mail-in ballot status by completing this form and mailing it to:

Centre County Elections & Voter Registration
420 Holmes St
Bellefonte, PA 16823

Secure Ballot Drop Boxes

Are secure ballot drop boxes going to be used in the 2021 Municipal Election?

Yes. The Centre County Board of Elections has identified eight locations throughout the County for drop boxes.

Click here to learn more about Centre County’s secure ballot drop boxes.

Where are the secure ballot drop boxes located?

Click here for a complete list of official drop boxes in Centre County.

How often are drop boxes emptied?

Secure ballot drop boxes are empties once a day, Monday-Friday, by a bi-partisan team of two election workers. They are accompanied by Sheriff’s Deputies for additional security.

Early Voting at the Willowbank Building

What are the dates and hour of operation for the Early Voting at the Willowbank Building?

Dates and hours of operation of the Early Voting can be found here under the dropdown menu.

Voting Procedures During COVID-19

Will masks or face covering be mandated at the Willowbank Building?

Yes. Mask are required for all elections staff and voters while at the Willowbank Building.

Here are some other COVID-19 protocols in place at early voting in-person at the Willowbank Building:

  • Social distancing floor markers
  • Hand sanitizing stations 
  • Each voter receives their own pen (to keep) to complete their balloting materials

Will masks or face coverings be mandated at polling locations on Election Day, November 2, 2021?

The Centre County Board of Elections is strongly encouraging individuals to wear masks when they vote in-person on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. 

The Board of Elections cannot mandate voters to wear masks or face coverings while at a polling location.

However, all poll workers will be required to wear masks during their time working in the polls.

What precautions will be taken at the polling place?

People in line will wait 6 feet apart, everyone will be encouraged to wear masks, and sanitizer will be available upon entry and exit. In addition, there will be sneeze guards for all poll workers. Each voter will be given their own pen to mark their ballot and keep after they are done voting. Also, poll workers will be wiping down voting booths and tables after each use.

How can I avoid crowds?

You can avoid crowds by voting by mail.

Where to Vote

Where can I vote on election day?

You can look up your voting location by address.

What to Expect on Election Day

What do I need to bring with me?

When voting at a polling place for the first time, you must show proof of identification, either with photo or not.

Click here to find out more information about approved forms of photo identification.

What are my rights as a voter?

  • If the polls close while you are still in line, stay in line – you have the right to vote.
  • If you make a mistake on your ballot, ask for a new one.
  • You are entitled to a provisional ballot, even if you are not in the poll book.
  • If you run into any problems or have questions on Election Day, contact the Centre County Elections Office at Elections@centrecountypa.gov.

If I do not live in Centre County, can I be a poll watcher in Centre County?

No. On September 17, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the poll watcher residency requirement in the Election Code is valid and constitutional.

Election Results

When will results be available?

After polls close at 8:00 PM on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, the Centre County Board of Elections will begin to upload unofficial results to our website and to the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website.

When will results for mail-in and absentee ballots be available?

Unofficial results for mail-in and absentee ballots received by the Centre County Board of Elections by 5PM on Thursday, May 13, 2021, will be available by 8:30 PM on Tuesday, November 2, 2021.

Unofficial results for mail-in and absentee ballots received by the Centre County Board of Elections by 8PM on Tuesday, November 2, will be available by 8:00 PM on Wednesday, May 19, if not sooner.

When will results for in-person voting on Election Day be available?

Unofficial results for in-person voting on Election Day, Tuesday, November 2, will be available depending on when the Judge of Elections from each precinct returns to the Willowbank Building. Typically, Judges of Elections arrive between 8:30 PM and 11:59 PM depending on the distance the polling location is from the Willowbank Building and the size of the turnout at their polling location. Unofficial results from will be posted as their are received.

Election Workers

How do I sign up to be a poll worker?

Thank you for your interest in helping to make democracy happen in Centre County. Click to sign up. After you complete the sign up a member of the Centre County Elections Office will reach out to you.

How do I sign up to help process the vote-by-mail ballots?

Thank you for your interest in helping to make democracy happen in Centre County. Due to an overwhelming response from the Centre County community we are no longer accepting sign ups for workers in the Vote-By-Mail Processing Room for the 2021 Municipal Election.

Registering to Vote

What is the deadline to register to vote in Centre County?

The deadline to register to vote for the 2021 Municipal Election was Monday, October 18, 2021.

The Centre County Board of Elections will begin to process voter registration for the 2021 General Election on Wednesday, November 3, 2021.