On Thursday, November 3, a Montgomery County judge granted an extension for absentee ballots to be returned to the Montgomery County Election Board. The new deadline is 8:00 PM on election night (Tuesday, November 8), an extension of four days.
Completed absentee ballots must be physically received by the Election Board by November 8. This means if you’re planning to mail your completed ballot, it is not sufficient that it be postmarked by November 8.
If you are worried that your completed ballot won’t get to the Election Board by the November 8th deadline if you mail it back, you have several options:
- Return your completed ballot in person. The address is One Montgomery Plaza, 425 Swede Street, Suite 602, Norristown. Please note that you cannot send someone to drop off your form, unless you fill out a Designation of Agent form. Go to VotesPA for details about using this form.
- Use priority mail from the U.S. Postal Service. The mailing address is Montgomery County Board of Elections, Montgomery County Court House, P.O. Box 311, Norristown, PA 19404-0311.
- Mail your completed ballot using FedEx or UPS. However, as these two services don’t deliver to P.O. boxes, be sure to use the street address: Montgomery County Board of Elections, One Montgomery Plaza, 425 Swede Street, Suite 602, Norristown, PA 19401.
To accommodate people who want to drop off their completed absentee ballot in person, the Election Board has extended its hours of operation. The Election Board will now be open:
- Friday, November 4: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Saturday, November 5: 9:00 AM – Noon
- Sunday, November 6: Noon – 3:00 PM
- Monday, November 7: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Tuesday, November 8 (Election Day): 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
The steps above cover those voters who have received their absentee ballot. But what if you requested your absentee ballot before the Tuesday, November 1st deadline, but haven’t yet received it? There are still some options for you:
- You can go to the Election Board in Norristown, request your absentee ballot, and vote in person. You should do this BEFORE Election Day, because if you can go to Norristown on Election Day to fill out an absentee ballot, there is actually no reason you can’t vote in person at your polling place.
- You can request that the Election Board re-send your absentee ballot. Here’s what you need to do:
- The first step is to email Matthew Macekura to request that your absentee ballot be re-sent.
- Then, you or someone on your behalf (parent, relative, friend) has to go to Montgomery County Voter Services (One Montgomery Plaza, Suite 602, 425 Swede Street, Norristown, PA 19401) with two prepaid, overnight envelopes (UPS or FedEx recommended). One envelope is to be addressed to the voter; the other addressed to Montgomery County Voter Services at the address above.
- Voter Services will then re-send the absentee ballot and the prepaid return envelope to the voter.
- The voter is to use the prepaid envelope to send his/her completed ballot. It must be received by the new deadline.
One thing to point out about the extension so that you won’t be surprised: The completed absentee ballots that are received during the extension window will not be tabulated on Election Day. They will be counted during what is referred to as the Official Tabulations of the General Election, which commences Monday, November 14, 2016. (This is the time period during which military and overseas ballots are tabulated, and the machine counts are verified.) If there are cliffhanger races, however, our election experts at the Democratic Committe of Lower Merion and Narberth (DCLMN) have said that they believe a court will order the absentee ballots to be tabulated sooner.
Certainly this is not an ideal situation for voters, but it is good to know that steps are being taken to avoid disenfranchising voters. We encourage you to check our Facebook page frequently for updates on this situation. You’re also welcome to post questions about this topic on our Facebook page, and we’ll do our best to get you answers.
Thanks to DCLMN members Teri Simon, Gilda Kramer, Robert Paul and Bill Madway for helping with this report.