Election Rights/Voting Security

Know Your Voting Rights in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, you have both federal and state legal protections. The laws in Pennsylvania:

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Protect voters from discrimination

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Protect voters from being told how to vote or intimidated in any way

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Require election information in Spanish in some counties

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Ensure that people with a disability can vote independently and privately

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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:

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Are a pretrial detainee, confined in a penal institution awaiting trial on charges of a felony or a misdemeanor.

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Were ever convicted of a misdemeanor.

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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.

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Are on probation or released on parole. This includes parolees who are living in a halfway house.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

  Post-Election Audits

Pennsylvania’s counties reviewed the ballots from the General Election in 2020 and found the results to be within a fraction of a percentage point, confirming an accurate vote count. For more information on post-election audits, please refer here.

  Layered Set of Protections

The commonwealth utilizes several layers of protection including but not limited to:

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24/7 continuous network monitoring

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Firewalls

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Encryption

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Password protection

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Multi-factor authentication

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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:

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The state and federal Departments of Homeland Security

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Center for Internet Security (CIS)

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The National Guard

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The Office of Administration (OA)

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The PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA)

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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.

  Ongoing Training

Pennsylvania has committed to an election security protocol that includes routine training and assessment in order to respond to any threats that arise. For more information on Election security in Pennsylvania head to vote.pa.gov.

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