Election Rights/Voting Security
Know Your Voting Rights in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, you have both federal and state legal protections. The laws in Pennsylvania:
Protect voters from discrimination
Protect voters from being told how to vote or intimidated in any way
Require election information in Spanish in some counties
Ensure that people with a disability can vote independently and privately
Establish rights for people who in jail or who have been convicted of a crime
It is illegal for any state or local government to discriminate against anyone by denying them the right to vote based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, or membership in a language minority. Your right to vote can only be challenged by a poll worker, poll watcher, or another voter who says you are not who you say you are. It is also illegal for any person or corporation to intimidate or coerce you to vote for or against a candidate or political issue. Find additional information on the above, here.
Criminal Status & Voting
For those with a criminal status or history, you can still register and vote if you:
Are a pretrial detainee, confined in a penal institution awaiting trial on charges of a felony or a misdemeanor.
Were ever convicted of a misdemeanor.
Got released or will get released by the date of the next election from a correctional facility or halfway house. This must be upon completion of the term of incarceration for conviction of a misdemeanor or a felony.
Are on probation or released on parole. This includes parolees who are living in a halfway house.
Are under house arrest (home confinement). If this is you, you can vote no matter your conviction status or the status of the conditions of confinement.
You cannot register and vote if you:
Are currently confined in a penal institution for conviction of a felony and will not get released from confinement until after the next election. This is even if you are also incarcerated for one or more misdemeanor offenses.
Are in a halfway house or other alternative correctional facility on pre-release status for conviction of a felony and who will not get released until after the date of the next election.
Got convicted of violating any provision of the Pennsylvania Election Code within the last four years.
For further information and details please refer here.
PA Department of State Resources
The Pennsylvania Department of State utilizes several methods to defend the integrity and security of our elections, to ensure both our right to vote and our confidence to vote will be counted accurately.
Fortified Voting System Defenses
In 2020, Pennsylvania’s counties deployed a new voting system with voter-verifiable paper records that meet 21st-century standards of security.
Layered Set of Protections
The commonwealth utilizes several layers of protection including but not limited to:
24/7 continuous network monitoring
Continuity of operations (COOP) planning, among other controls to protect our systems
Strategic Data Sharing
The Department of State works closely with all 67 county boards of elections as well as experts from:
The state and federal Departments of Homeland Security
Center for Internet Security (CIS)
The National Guard
The Office of Administration (OA)
The PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA)
State and county IT staff
Collaboration and Communication
In 2018, the Wolf Administration brought together experts from the Department of State, Homeland Security, Emergency Management Agency, Information Technology, State Police, National Guard, Office of State Inspector General and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in the Executive Interagency Workshop.
The PA National Guard’s Cyber Defense Team was recently chosen to be the first National Guard team to participate in a new U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) program to train third parties to conduct Risk and Vulnerability Assessments (RVA) to USDHS standards.
Disinformation in Voting
Pitt Disinformation Lab is working to strengthen resilience in Pennsylvania against false narratives about our elections. Learn more about how they are working to combat disinformation here.
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