Carnegie Mellon University

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

You can use’s Check Your Registration tool to check on the status of your voter registration.
If you are voting in PA, you can use Pennsylvania’s Polling Place Search Tool to find the location of your polling place. For voters in other states, you can use’s Polling Place locator to find the location of your polling place.
Polls in Pennsylvania open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. Anyone in line at 8:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote.
First-time voters are required to show some form of ID, but it does not need to be a photo ID. has a list of acceptable forms of ID voters can take, which includes student ID cards. We also recommend that you wear a mask when you go 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.

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.

No! You don’t have to vote for everything on your ballot.

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 for state-specific rules.

Check out’s Voter Rights page.
Call 866-OUR-VOTE if you experience issues at the polls or think that your rights have been violated. There will be lawyers on hand to answer Election Day questions and concerns about voting procedures. Election Protection has more information about this service on their website, including similar hotlines in Spanish, Arabic, and Asian languages.
The CDC has published a list of recommendations for voters to help protect them from COVID-19. 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.
  • Allegheny County Election FAQ – for general questions about voting in Allegheny County
  • Ballotpedia – to view the candidates and issues on your ballot
  • Civic Influencers – 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.
  • Rock the Vote FAQ – for general questions about voting
  • – for easily accessible information about voting in different states, including information about deadlines, dates, and rules
  • VotesPA – Official Pennsylvania Government website about voting