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Northampton County answers voting questions

The Northampton County Elections Office has provided a list of answers to frequently asked questions by voters in regard to the general election, which will be Nov. 3.

Can I vote by mail?

• Yes. Act 77, which was passed in 2019, allows for no-excuse mail-in voting. The applications must be received by Oct. 27 and are available in the elections office or online at votespa.com/Pages/default.aspx.

How do I know my application has been accepted or if my ballot has been received?

• Citizens who sign up on votespa.com will receive emails about their application/ballot status. Voters who applied on paper can track the status of their ballot at votespa.com.

Why did I get an email saying my application for a mail-in ballot has been declined?

• It’s likely a duplicate application was filed. Some voters forget they requested a mail-in ballot for the general election when they filled out an application for the primary. Also, local groups have sent out unsolicited applications, confusing voters into applying more than once.

When will ballots go out in the mail?

• Ballots will start being mailed out by the end of September. Voters can check the status of their ballot online at votespa.com.

I’m worried about getting my mail-in ballot back to the elections office on time.

• To be counted, the ballots must be returned to the elections office by 8 p.m. Nov. 3. Right now, it is recommended voters return their ballot as soon as possible - or at least get it in the mail by Oct. 20.

What kind of stamp should I use to mail my ballot back?

• Return envelopes are metered with first-class postage. Voters do not have to use a stamp.

Do I have to return my ballot by mail?

• No. Ballots can be returned directly to the elections office at the government center or, for those who prefer to not go through security, to the secure ballot drop-off box in the rotunda. The box will be installed when ballots become available. The government center is located at 669 Washington St., Easton, 18042.

Can someone else deliver my ballot to the elections office?

• If you come into the office, you may be asked for your ID; if you’re dropping off someone else’s ballot, you will be asked for a signed Certification of Designated Agent form. A copy of the form can be downloaded at votespa.com.

Is there anything visible on the outside of the mail-in ballot envelope that indicates my party affiliation?

• No.

I requested a mail-in ballot, but I’ve changed my mind and want to vote at the polls.

• Voters can cancel mail-in ballots by filling out a form at votespa.com until Sept. 1.

It’s after Sept. 1. I requested a mail-in ballot, but now I want to vote in person at the polls.

• Voters should bring their mail-in ballots and the return envelope to the polls. The judge of election will spoil the ballot and let them vote on the machine.

Will the polls be open Nov. 3?

• Yes. As of right now, the elections office plans on staffing all 154 precincts with 315 voting machines.

Have the ExpressVote XL machines been tested?

• Yes. The machines were all recalibrated after the election in November 2019 and will undergo testing before the election Nov. 3. The machines performed well in the June primary.

Have any polling locations changed?

• Northampton’s fourth ward voting location is now at Gospel Chapel, 1769 Newport Ave.; Hellertown 3 is now at Saucon Valley High School gymnasium; and Easton 8W and 8E are now at Paxinosa Elementary School.

Do I have to wear a mask at the polls? What about the poll workers?

• All poll workers are required to wear masks. Voters are strongly encouraged to wear masks out of respect to the people who volunteer in the elections.

Who should voters call if they have problems or questions either before or on Election Day?

• Voters should call the Northampton County Elections Office at 610-829-6260 or email election@northamptoncounty.org.

If you or someone you know has an interest in taking a more active role, consider becoming a poll worker. Poll workers are paid for their training time and their work on Election Day. For more information, visit https://www.northamptoncounty.org/CTYADMN/ELECTNS/Pages/PollWorkers.aspx.

Editor’s note: A story on the general election voting process in Lehigh County will appear in next week’s edition.