PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Polls open in Pennsylvania at 7 a.m. and 6 a.m. in New Jersey. No-excuse, mail-in ballots are being used for the first time in both states, which has been causing some confusion.
To dispel the misinformation going around, here’s what you need to know in order to make sure your vote counts on Election Day in either state.
In Pennsylvania, you cannot drop off a filled-out mail-in ballot at your polling location. A signed and sealed mail-in ballot can only be dropped off at a designated ballot drop-off box or at your county’s elections office.
Specific locations, along with polling places, can be found at votespa.com.
If you requested a mail-in ballot but decided you want to vote in person, you can return your mail-in ballot — with the return envelope — to your polling location. Then, you can vote in person.
If you don’t have your mail-in ballot — whether you never received it, or you already sent it back but you’re concerned it won’t be received in time — you can cast a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are counted after all the others are tallied, then double-checked to make sure there’s only one vote per person.
Anyone in line at a polling place before 8 p.m. must be allowed to vote, no matter how late that may be. However, the designated mail-in ballot drop-off boxes must be closed and locked at 8 p.m., even if there is a line.
Under current court decisions, ballots that are mailed can be counted as long as they get to the county’s office by Friday at 5 p.m. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has ordered those late-arrival ballots be kept separate, as there will likely be a court challenge after the election.
Elections officials advise against mailing in your ballot at this point, as it will likely not make in time.
It could take larger counties days to count the hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots they’ve received so far. With so much attention on Pennsylvania and accusations of fraud from the president, the state will not only show how many ballots have been counted, but also how many ballots still remain to be counted.
Unlike Pennsylvania, all 6 million registered voters in New Jersey received mail-in ballots.
You can still mail yours in, and it’ll be counted as long as it’s postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 10.
You can also drop off your ballot in a county drop-off box.
In New Jersey, you are allowed to deliver your mail-in ballot to a polling place. If you choose to vote in person, you will cast a provisional paper ballot.
Machines are reserved for those with disabilities.
Gov. Phil Murphy said 3.5 million mail-in ballots have already been returned. In 2016, the total number of New Jersey ballots cast overall was 3.9 million.