On Tuesday, voters — translation: you, if you’re registered to vote in Philadelphia — will head to the polls to select, among other things, which Democratic mayoral candidate will go on to face Republican Melissa Murray Bailey (and maybe an independent candidate?) in the November general election.
Here are a few helpful bits of information to help you get to the polls and make an educated decision:
1) Who are the candidates?
NewsWorks‘ handy-dandy 2015 Philadelphia Voters Guide offers details about all six Democratic mayoral candidates with links to learn more about them if you so desire. (Read it on your smartphone while waiting in line!)
2) Where do I go to vote?
The Pennsylvania Department of State’s “polling place information” website can help you find it once you plug in your address.
3) Wait, am I even registered to vote?
The Department of State has you covered on that one, too. Check your status via the Voter Registration Status page. (I did this myself and it worked, but only if I left my middle name out, so if you have problems, that could be to blame.)
If there are questions about eligibility, you can fill out a provisional ballot that will be counted on the Friday after the election. If your eligibility is confirmed, your votes will count, but there is a caveat: If you voted in a different councilmanic district, your out-of-district council vote will not be added to the totals.
4) What hours are the polls open on Tuesday?
7 a.m. until 8 p.m.
5) Do I need to bring identification to vote?
Sure, the “section of the Pennsylvania Voter ID law dealing with photo identification was deemed unconstitutional by a Commonwealth Court judge on January 17, 2014 and is no longer in effect.”
But, according to the Committee of Seventy, “there is still an identification requirement for first-time voters or individuals voting in a new division, but they may show either photo or non-photo ID in order to use the voting machines.”
Approved forms of photo identification include:
Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT ID card
ID issued by any agency of the Commonwealth or U.S. Government
U.S. Armed Forces ID
Approved forms of non-photo identification must include your name and address:
Voter registration card issued by the County Voter Registration Office
Non-photo ID issued by any agency of the Commonwealth or U.S. Government
Current utility bill
Current bank statement
Paycheck or government check
6) Can I see a sample ballot before I head to the polls?
You sure can. The Philadelphia City Commissioners office has them available via its website.
7) What about the ballot questions?
The Committee of Seventy has an explainer about the four yes-or-no questions you’ll see in the voting booth.
8) Where can I check the results?
9) Who should I vote for?
That question is for you and you alone to decide. But decide you should!