Posted on Saturday, 15th June 2024 by

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Your vote matters, annuitants, and those working with busy schedules or traveling may wish to vote remotely. You can request an absentee ballot or in many states like Pennsylvania vote-by-mail.


Applying for a Mail-in Ballot

The general election will be held on Tuesday, November 5 but voting begins early in many states. Visit to register to vote if you haven’t already or contact your state’s election board for voting requirements and procedures. We can all help the upcoming election run smoothly by planning now for how we intend to vote.

Sign Up Now

The sooner you decide on what path you will take the better. We traveled for many years during the month of November and requested absentee ballots.

Even if you intend to vote at your local polling place this year, it may be prudent to sign up for voting by mail if available in your state. You never know what will transpire between now and the election that may prevent you from voting at the polls. I encourage all of my family members and friends to do the same.

The important and responsible thing to do is vote, regardless of the method used.

When voting by mail, you must follow the process precisely or your vote may be rejected. Pennsylvania’s voting process is outlined below; your state may have similar voting resources for you to use.

Voting by Mail

When voting by mail was first introduced, I was apprehensive about voter fraud and the potential for abuse. The Pennsylvania system requires voters to provide their driver’s license or state PennDOT ID card number. If they don’t have either, they require the last 4 digits of their Social Security number.

If you don’t have one of the documents listed above, you can provide a photocopy of one of the following IDs with your absentee or mail-in ballot application. The photocopy must show name, a photo, and an expiration date that is current.

  • Passport
  • Military ID (active duty and retired military ID may designate an expiration date that is indefinite). Military dependents’ ID must contain a current expiration date.
  • Employee photo identification issued by Federal, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania county, or Pennsylvania municipal government.
  • Photo identification issued by an accredited Pennsylvania public or private institution of higher learning.
  • Photo identification issued by a Pennsylvania care facility, including long-term care facilities, assisted living residences and personal care homes.

Reservations Linger

I do have reservations about the process in general and the identification required for voting-by-mail. Especially if a state allows illegal undocumented immigrants to apply for and receive a driver’s license.

Last September, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro announced that the state will now automatically register eligible Pennsylvanians to vote when they obtain or renew identification cards and driver licenses. This is fine if you are a US citizen.

According to Pennsylvania’s DOT Secretary, Mike Carroll, “The issuance of driver’s license products to undocumented immigrants is something that the department supports, that I support, and the governor supports with safeguards necessary to make sure that folks that are issued those products are treated the same as folks that have a regular driver’s license,”

Carroll, focuses on issuing driver’s licenses to illegals and, “treating them the same as folks that have a regular driver’s license.” Shouldn’t the state be as concerned these same individuals are not automatically registered to vote? There is no mention of that in their statements!


All you need to apply for voting-by-mail in Pennsylvania is to have a DOT issued driver’s license. Another option is to have a Social Security card.

Every citizen should have a Social Security card; according to the Social Security Administration’s handbook, “If you are 12 or older and have never been assigned an SSN, you must apply in person for a Social Security card.

Today, most hospitals submit birth registration information to the state’s bureau of vital statistics, that agency electronically forwards the information to Social Security, which will automatically assign a number and mail out a card.

Acceptance of a photo ID issued by an accredited Pennsylvania or private institution of higher learning is problematic. Many foreigners attend universities in the state and their IDs don’t show citizenship status.

According to “A Guide to the Citizenship Section of the common Application,” College student IDs typically do not explicitly display citizenship status. It goes on to state that under the Federal Education and Privacy Act (FERPA) colleges aren’t permitted to disclose your citizenship status to anyone, including immigration authorities.”

You could also have non-resident aliens living in long term care or assisted living facilities that could potentially vote or have their votes harvested.

There should be revisions to the process to address these concerns and others. Plus, they don’t start counting mail-in ballots in some states until after the polls close on election day, delaying election results for days after an election.

That being said, I’m comfortable with the process enough to participate and encourage others to do the same.

Pennsylvania Voting

Register to vote: You can register to vote online, by mail, in person at your county voter registration office or at PennDOT and select other government agencies. If you’re not sure if you’ve already registered, check your registration status today.

The deadline to register to vote depends on your State. Don’t wait, if you haven’t registered to vote, DO IT NOW, well in advance of your state’s deadline. I checked my voter registration; they provide a lot of helpful information including your polling place, federal congressional district, and state district offices, to name a few.

Voting in person: You can vote in person at an assigned polling place near where you live, open 7 AM to 8 PM on Election Day, Tuesday, November 5. If your name is not in the voter roster, you may have the right to vote on a provisional ballot. Poll workers can assist if you have questions on Election Day.

Voting by mail:  All registered qualified voters may apply for a mail-in ballot. The deadline in Pennsylvania is late October, request a mail-in or absentee ballot Now. I sent my application March 20, 2024 for the primary and received a notice from the State that it was accepted. They will automatically send a mail-in ballet for the November election as well.

Ballots must be postmarked by 8 PM on Tuesday, November 5 for the Presidential election and received by your county election office by 5 PM on Friday, November 9. If you are concerned about USPS delays in delivering mail-in or absentee ballots, you can drop off your ballot at your county election office.


If you already submitted a mail-in or absentee ballot, you cannot vote at your polling place on Election Day. However, if you did not return your mail-in or absentee ballot and you want to vote in person, you have two options:

  1. Bring your ballot and the pre-addressed outer return envelope to your polling place to be voided. After you surrender your ballot and envelope and sign a declaration, you can then vote a regular ballot.
  2. If you don’t surrender your ballot and return envelope, you can only vote by provisional ballot at your polling place. Your county election board will then verify that you did not vote by mail before counting your provisional ballot.

Follow the directions carefully or your vote will not be counted. Including things like marking your ballot in blue or black pen, placing and sealing your ballot in the inner secrecy return envelope that says, “official ballot.” Seal the envelope, and sign and date where indicated.

The process can be confusing and be sure not to return your ballot in the wrong envelope and sign the secrecy envelope when you send it in. Read the instructions that come with your state’s mail-in voting application and follow the guidance provided when your ballot arrives.

YOUR VOTE MATTERS. Don’t assume your candidate is ahead and stay home or forget to mail your absentee or vote-by-mail ballot.

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Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, investment, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center.

Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The information contained herein should not be considered investment advice and may not be suitable for your situation. This service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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