Many folks swear by noise canceling headphones for flying. Well, I suggest a more important use… between now and Election Day on November 3rd.

I’m not advocating tuning out candidate messages. Put these headphones on to block out the confusing, incorrect, misleading, intentional and inadvertent messages about voting Tune it out and simply do this. A few easy steps, as follows:

1) Register to vote. Registration deadlines for a few states are as follows:
a) Pennsylvania – October 19, 2020
b) New York – October 9, 2020
c) Ohio – October 5, 2020
d) Alaska – October 4, 2020

2) Vote. Vote for whomever you prefer, but the important thing is to vote. All voting procedures in all states make voting easy. There are two options:

A) Vote in person. Poll hours on November 3 are:
i) Pennsylvania: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM (EST)
ii) New York: 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM (EST)
iii) Ohio: 6:30 AM – 7:30 PM (EST)
iv) Alaska: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM (ATZ)

As to voting in person, and taking Allegheny County as an example (and one where I’m most familiar, having practiced elections administration law for 30+ years), there are 1,323 voting districts in the county. In other words, everyone can vote in person at a neighborhood polling place. Poll workers will be masked and COVID related precautions will be in effect. All other counties in Pennsylvania have neighborhood voting districts and COVID precautions will be used.

My understanding is that the other states mentioned above also have local polling locations and, as you can see, a lengthy period of time to vote in person.

B) Voting by mail:
i) Pennsylvania legislation, enacted in 2019, makes voting by mail available to all voters. Pennsylvania provides for both absentee voting and mail in voting. Absentee voting requires a statement of either disability or absence from one’s municipality on Election Day. BUT, mail in voting is truly no fault and requires no reason to vote by mail. Voters can apply for absentee and mail in ballots either online or by mailing a paper form. The application deadline is October 27, with ballots to be returned by November 3, by 8:00PM, the close of polls
ii) New York permits absentee voting, but recent legislation permits an absentee ballot to be used if someone is unable to vote in person due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease, including COVID-19. In other words, New York is a mail in ballot state, with minimal explanation required to vote by mail. October 27 is the last day to apply. Mail in ballots must be postmarked by November 3 and received by the County Elections Office by November 10
iii) Ohio permits no fault absentee voting, applications due by noon on October 31. Ballots must be postmarked by November 2 and received by November 13. Additionally Ohio permits early voting, by absentee ballot, between October 6 and November 2 at the County Board of Elections. The times vary by date, so go online to check the applicable times
iv) Alaska permits absentee voting. Applications by mail must be received by October 24 and online by November 2. Early absentee voting begins on October 19 and ends on November 3.Hours vary by location, so go online to check. Absentee voting is “no excuse”, so anyone can vote by absentee ballot.

Keep those noise canceling headphones on and REGISTER AND VOTE. If voting by mail, complete your ballot and mail IMMEDIATELY to avoid any USPS delays. Exercising your franchise is simple.

Now, perhaps you may want to keep those noise canceling headphones on for the candidate ads as well…

– Allan Opsitnick


Author: opsitnickslaw

Allan J. Opsitnick J.D. and B.A. Degrees, University of Pittsburgh

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: