Your Voting Rights 11/2/2014

Posted on Posted in Michael Coard Writes

Voting and Your Rights, courtesy of Michael Coard, Esq.


How can you find the location of your polling place? Call the Citizens’ Access Center at 866-268-8603.

What time do the polling places open and close? They open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.

Who is legally permitted to vote? Basically, anyone who is registered is permitted to vote.

What type of identification is needed in order to be permitted to vote? Although you might not necessarily need any if you have voted before, you should play it safe by taking with you your driver’s license, non-driver’s license, passport, state identification, federal identification, military identification, employee identification, student identification, or voter’s identification card. Or you should take your utility bill, bank statement, current paycheck, or government paycheck (but those bills, statements, or paychecks must have your name and address pre-printed on them).

What do you do if you are not permitted to vote when you get to the polling place? Immediately call the Committee of Seventy at 215-557-3600 or the Voter Registration Office at 215-686-1590. If that doesn’t work, immediately demand a “Provisional Ballot,” which you have an absolute right to receive and that ballot can serve as a kind of temporary vote until the problem

Are people who have been convicted of crimes permitted to vote? If you have been convicted of a felony but have been released from jail (or from a halfway house), you are permitted to vote.

If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor and even if you are still in jail (or in a halfway house) for that misdemeanor, you are permitted to vote. But obviously, it would have to be done by absentee ballot if you are still in jail (and probably if you are in a halfway house as well). If you are on probation or house arrest or are a released parolee and that probation or house arrest or released parolee status is for either a felony or a misdemeanor, you are permitted to vote. If you have traffic tickets, owe child support, and have any situation like that, you are permitted

Are you permitted to wear buttons, tee-shirts, etc. regarding a particular candidate? In Philadelphia, the answer is yes. You are permitted to “endorse” a candidate by (passively) wearing buttons, tee-shirts, etc., but you must immediately leave the polling place after you vote.

You are not permitted to “electioneer” for a candidate by (actively) campaigning.

For more information, call attorney Michael Coard at 215-552-8714, the ACLU at 215-592-1513, or the Committee of Seventy at 215-557-3600.

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