Doylestown Democrats Voting Rights Series


The Doylestown Democrats have prepared this series of Voting Rights guidelines which we hope will be a helpful resource. The focus is on policy that ensures our votes are protected and what we can do if the system isn’t working. We thought, with the tone of this election, a voting rights refresher could come in handy.

— Your D’Dems Communications Team

Voting Rights – Absentee Voting

vote absenteeIf you need an absentee ballot, time has almost run out for you.  At this point in time, in-person application and voting on a machine at the Board of Elections itself is the best way to ensure that your votes will be counted.  The Board of Elections is located in the old Courthouse, now the Administration Building  at 55 E. Court St in Doylestown.

Otherwise, you could print out your absentee ballot here, fill it out, and mail it ASAP,  but it would have to arrive at the Board of Elections by 5PM on Tuesday, November 1st.  Then you have to hope the absentee ballot arrives, you vote on it,  get it in the mail,  and it arrives back at the Courthouse by Friday, November 4th.

Board of Elections office is located at:
Bucks County Courthouse
55 E Court St, Doylestown PA 18901-4318
Tel (215) 348-6163

After Tuesday, November 1st, it is possible to get an emergency absentee ballot if you go to the Board of Elections at the courthouse.

Voting Rights – Check Your Registration/Polling Location

Even if you know your registration status and your polling location, you may have a friend who could use your help.

Check Registration Status/Polling Location

Voting Rights – ID Requirements


Voters voting for the first time in their precinct must show ID. The ID can be photo or non-photo ID. This is the only time ID is required. Pennsylvania’s strict photo ID law for all voters is no longer in effect for voting at the polls. Unless you are a first time voter, poll workers should not ask you for photo ID, and you will NOT need to present ID to vote in the 2016 Primary or General Election. If you are a first time voter, and you show a non-photo ID, it must contain your name and address. The only other voters who need to show ID are those who may need to verify that their address is correct. Forms of acceptable ID include the following.

  • Driver’s license
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. Armed Forces ID
  • Student ID
  • Employee ID
  • Any ID issued by the commonwealth or the US Government
  • Voter registration card issued by the County Voter Registration Office
  • Non-photo ID issued by the Commonwealth
  • Non-photo ID issued by the U.S. Government
  • Non-photo ID issued by any agency of the Commonwealth or U.S. Government
  • Firearm permit
  • Current utility bill
  • Current bank statement
  • Current Paycheck
  • Government check

Voting Rights – Issues at the Polls & Emergency/Provisional Ballots

Provisional Ballots

The Help America Vote Act of 2002 established the provisional ballot, a paper ballot, to ensure no eligible voter is turned away at the polls. Individuals who may vote by provisional ballot are:
  • A voter who claims to be properly registered and eligible to vote at the election district but whose name does not appear on the general voter registration list
  • A first-time voter who does not have an acceptable form of identification; or
  • A voter who presents a federal or state order to vote
Call (877) 868-3772 or go to provisional ballot search at to find out if your vote was counted.  Voting in the wrong precinct but correct county may result in partial ballot counting. Voting in the wrong county will lead to the ballot rejection. Voting by regular ballot is the best way to ensure every vote is counted.

Emergency Paper Ballot

When 50% or more voting machines are out of service, voters are entitled to emergency paper ballots. If they are not offered, voters should request one instead of leaving without voting. Emergency ballots must be identified and placed in “emergency ballot” envelopes, not in provisional ballot envelopes.

Voters Have the Right to Assistance

One has the right to assistance at the polls, including language or literacy. Anyone may assist unless they are an employer, union representative or the Judge of Elections. The voter will be asked to sign an “Assistance Declaration”, unless the poll book already indicates. Voters have the right to refuse help.

Coercion, Inappropriate Behavior at the Polls

If there is harassment or coercion of voters find and notify your Judge of Elections. If results are unsatisfactory, call the Board of Elections (215) 348-6154 or Democratic HQ (215) 348-2140. The Election Protection hotline, 866.OUR.VOTE (866-687-8683), wants to be informed. This is the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.

Voting Rights – Voting Rights for the Criminal Justice System

Individuals involved in the criminal justice system can vote…

  • When released from jail or prison, or freed by election day 
  • If on probation or parole
  • If convicted of a felony in another state
  • If being held while awaiting trial (must vote absentee
  • While serving time for a misdemeanor (must vote absentee
  • While in a half-way house not on pre-release status 

Voting Rights – Turn Bucks Blue

It is important to vote for all of  the excellent Democratic candidates on the ballot, from President down to PA State Representative. The down-ballot effect is the voter fall off candidates experience the lower they place on the ballot.

More than ever,  Democrats must shift the imbalance of power in the House and Senate of Congress and PA General Assembly. Without a shift Hillary’s agenda will end in gridlock, Supreme Court appointments will be blocked and the right wing agenda will more firmly entrench in Pennsylvania.

Encourage everyone you can to vote for the full Democratic slate .

Our National/Bucks County/State Candidates:
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton/Tim Kaine for U.S. President/Vice President
  • Katie McGinty for U.S. Senator
  • Steve Santarsiero for U.S. Congress
  • Josh Shapiro for PA Attorney General
  • Eugene DePasquale for PA Auditor General
  • Joe Torsella for PA Treasurer
  • Steve Kunkel for PA State Rep (143rd)