Your Last-Minute Guide to the 2022 Election
Mail-in voting, who’s on the ballot, and shifting poll locations: you’ve got questions, we’ve got (some) answers.
Wow, one day left and you’re clicking this link? A little under the wire, no? Nevertheless, you’re here and you want to vote. Great job. We need you. What can I help you with?
So, where exactly do I go to vote?
Because of the pandemic, polling locations have shifted a lot over the past few years. (I’m thinking specifically of a 2020 polling location in my neighborhood that was, at the time, an empty storefront and is now a 700-seat dim sum restaurant.) Luckily, the state has you covered. Just enter your address here and Pennsylvania Voter Services will direct you to your polling place, complete with door-to-door directions.
Will there be snacks?
What? I don’t know, maybe? Some polling locations have snacks, yes.
What kinda snacks we talking about?
Christ on a cracker, enough with the snacks! Coffee, donuts, standard stuff, but I really don’t think we should be …
Just messing with you, I’ll bring my own. So what’s on the ballot?
One of the more daunting aspects of voting is walking into the booth, closing the curtain, and looking at dozens of names you’ve never heard before in your life. The folks at vote.org have built a handy tool to check who and what exactly is on every ballot, at every address, in the United States. Just plug in your address and your options will pop right up, complete with candidate websites so you can do your own research.
What time can I show up to vote?
The polls open at 7 a.m., but if you want to show up at 5 a.m. with a chair, a thermos of black coffee, and a floppy novelty hat that says HELL YEAH I VOTE printed across the front, go for it. I love the spirit.
Polls close at 8 p.m., but if you’re in line when the clock chimes, you’ll still be allowed to vote.
What if I received a mail-in ballot, but want to vote in person instead?
I often work a poll in South Philly, and one of our most-frequent situations is that a voter walks in and asks this exact question. And, you’re in luck! You can do that, provided:
- You’re in the correct polling place (see question 1 for more information on that)
- You have your complete mail-in ballot with you. This includes the exterior envelope, the interior envelope, and the ballot itself.
If you satisfy both requirements, you can vote in person. If you arrive and don’t have your complete mail-in ballot to surrender, you can still vote, but it’s a provisional vote. (Those are usually hand-counted later after election officials determine you did not, in fact, also send in your mail-in ballot.)
Still need to know more? Here’s some additional info on mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.
What the hell are these ballot questions all about? Aviation departments? Civil service preference? This all sounds like bird law to me.
Look, it’s our job here at Philly Mag to be informed and even then we often find these ballot questions impenetrably dense. In Philly this year there are two. In plain English:
– Should the city create a Department of Aviation, and
– Should graduates of the School District of Philadelphia’s Career and Technical Education program be given preference when applying for civil-service jobs
Of course, the questions aren’t written that plainly or I wouldn’t have to spend the time typing this all out. The Inquirer editorial board recommends voting yes on both, and I tend to agree. It’s bizarre that, currently, the $400 million aviation budget is nestled within the city’s commerce department, and any opportunity to fill the city’s gaping workforce holes should be taken.
I heard something about mail-in ballots not getting counted? What’s the deal?
So last week the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that some mail-in ballots wouldn’t be counted because of various inconsistencies — incorrect dates, missing secrecy envelopes, a bunch of things. (The process is a bit convoluted, I agree. I spent a few minutes wondering whether I had to date my ballot twice, or just once, and eventually threw up my hands and hoped for the best.)
Well, luckily for Philly voters, the city has created a series of lists that highlight problematic votes, by name. The lists are searchable, and my colleague Victor Fiorillo breaks everything down right here.
This has been very helpful.
Oh, wow, thanks. I really appreciate it. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “The ballot is … ”
I mean, it wasn’t that tough — Google a few things, write it in first-person to add some razzle-dazzle. Don’t congratulate yourself too much.