Election Day Frequently Asked Questions
If you do not find an answer to your specific question here, please email the Office of Student Leadership, Involvement, and Civic Engagement (SLICE) or call 412-268-8704.
Navigate Election Day
How do I know if I am eligible to vote? How do I know where I am registered to vote?
Where do I vote on Election Day?
your polling place. For voters in other states, you can use Vote.org’s Polling Place locator to find the
location of your polling place.
What time do the polls open and close?
Do I need to bring an ID to vote? What should I bring with me when I go to the polls?
What if I go to the polls and they tell me I am not registered to vote?
First, make sure you are at the right polling place. If you are at the wrong polling place, they will not have your name on the list of voters. If you are at the correct location and are not on the list, you can still cast a ballot. Ask the poll worker for a provisional ballot. After the polls close on Election Day the state will check the status of your voter registration, and if there was a mistake made. The state must notify you as to whether your ballot was counted. If you have a problem voting and think your rights have been denied, call 866-OUR-VOTE. There will be lawyers available to help.
What are the procedures used at the polling place? What should I expect when I go to my polling place to vote?
Polling places in Pennsylvania are open for voting from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. When you enter the
polling place one of the election officials will ask for your name. The official will look for your name on the list of those registered (called the district register) to make sure that you are recorded as being registered to and eligible to vote in that election district.
If your name is on the list, you will be asked to sign a document called a voter’s certificate, declaring your name and address on the list are accurate and that you are qualified to vote at this election. Once you have signed your name and are found to be qualified, the official will direct you to the next available voting machine booth.
Am I required to vote for everything on the ballot?
What if I requested a mail-in or absentee ballot, and either lost the ballot or changed my mind, so now I want to vote in-person?*
If you receive your ballot and decide to go to the polling place instead, you should take the entire
packet with you and let the poll worker know that you would like to surrender your ballot and vote in person instead. They will take the packet and secure it in an envelope to record that action, ask that you sign a form confirming that choice, and then you can vote as you would any other time.
If you receive your ballot but misplace it or parts of it, you can still go to the polling place, but you will be asked to vote by provisional ballot. You would not scan your ballot in but would instead provide it to the poll workers when done. It will be returned to Elections and reviewed as part of the Return Board process. They will verify that the ballot was not cast any other way and, if not, will then open and count the provisional ballot during that process.
*This answer applies specifically to voters in Pennsylvania. For voters in other states, please check
Vote.org for state-specific rules.
What are my rights as a voter?
What should I do if I have problems at the polls? I think my voting rights have been violated, what should I do?
I want to vote in person, but I am worried about being exposed to COVID-19 while at my polling location. What steps are the polling places taking to keep me safe and prevent the spread of the virus?
Check out the Allegheny County In-Person Voting webpage to learn more about how local polling places are working to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
What are some additional FAQs, resources and voting/election guides?
- Allegheny County In-Person Voting Webpage – for questions about voting in-person in Allegheny County
- Allegheny County Election FAQ – for general questions about voting in Allegheny County
- Ballotpedia – to view the candidates and issues on your ballot
- Campus Election Engagement Project – for non-partisan guides to the issues and candidates on the ballot
- Election Protection – for questions about voting rights, and support if you feel your rights have been violated.
- Maximum Flexibility – Provost Garrett’s email offering maximum flexibility to the CMU community on Election Day
- Rock the Vote FAQ – for general questions about voting
- SLICE Election Week Newsletter – a comprehensive voting resource containing a variety of information about voting, including a list of upcoming events and programming related to the election
- SLICE Voter Resources Webpage – for a variety of voter resources, including upcoming events and programming related to the election
- Vote.org – for easily accessible information about voting in different states, including information about deadlines, dates, and rules
- VotesPA – Official Pennsylvania Government website about voting