Voter Registration & Voting Locations
For Swarthmore College Students
Please read this page carefully, as the rules for registration and voting are somewhat more complicated than you might think.
Voting Places and Map
Check WHERE you are registered to vote in PA
How to UN-register when you leave
Ballot Info by Zip code from Non-partisan League of Women Voter's
Pennsylvania Voting Instructions from the Commonwealth
If you are a U.S. citizen and will be 18 years of age or older by voting
day, you are encouraged to register and to vote.
In accordance with federal law, a Pennsylvania Voter Registration form is placed in each enrolled student's campus mailbox at the beginning of every academic year. Forms are also freely available from the Registrar's Office and online, see below.
Key dates for Pennsylvania voters in 2012
10.9.12 - General Election Registration Deadline
10.30.12 - Last day to apply for Civilian Absentee Ballot
11.2.12 - Last day for County Board of Elections to receive voted civilian absentee ballots
11.6.12 - General Election
BRING your Swarthmore College ID.
New registrants will be *required* to present ID. For others it will be requested.
Swarthmore College ID is valid ID for voting in PA.
The law requiring voter photo ID was blocked for the November 6, 2012 election, but previous law requiring ID for new voters still pertains. The new law asks election officials to request that you show approved photo ID.
The photo ID law is still expected to go into effect after the November 6, 2012, election. After that, all Pennsylvania voters will be required to show a photo ID before voting at a polling place.
- Swarthmore College ID is VALID voter ID in Pennsylvania so long as it is unexpired (see PDF).
- Swarthmore College IDs have the required photo and expiration date.
- See the list of other valid photo IDs for Pennsylvania.
- Note that the required photo ID proves who you are, but NOT where you vote. Where you vote is determined by your voter registration, which must indicate your address of residence, and it is your address of residence which determines where you vote (check your current PA registration). Swarthmore College photo ID is valid person ID anywhere in Pennsylvania.
- Do NOT use an out-of-state driver's license for Pennsylvania voter ID. (While it might be legal it is not on the approved list.)
Choose where to vote
Vote here or back home?
You may choose to vote either in Swarthmore, PA, or your home town -
but not both. Before choosing Swarthmore, consider if you might ever need to
prove consistent residency "intent." Intent is best demonstrated by
keeping all your legal addresses, including those for voting, driver's licence,
etc., together as one for several years. Reasons to prove intent include eligibility
for in-state graduate school tuition in your home state, or for taxation reasons
if you own stocks and bonds or receive income from a trust, or from other investments.
Otherwise, you can choose to have different legal addresses for different purposes,
and most states, including Pennsylvania, do not prohibit you from having
different legal addresses for driver's license and for voting, so long as you
have only one for each.
To vote back home or by Absentee Ballot, follow the local voting
rules for your home town or county. Ask for help from your city hall, or from
your county court house. Much absentee ballot information is online, do a web
search on your state and "absentee ballot". Find and read the information
your state publishes on the subject. Pennsylvania
Absentee ballot information is available online.
If "back home" is in PA, but is not Swarthmore...
- If you want to vote back home elsewhere in PA, use absentee ballot procedure, and if you need to (re)register there, you can use your PA drivers license on the voter registration form.
- If you want to vote in Swarthmore, use your dorm address on the voter registration form, and do not use your PA drivers license which says you live elsewhere.
Absentee Ballot Request deadlines vary from state to state
and sometimes county by county. Check with your municipality.
Registration deadlines vary from state to state, but the norm
is 30 days prior to the election.
Overseas? Here is a helpful website for U.S. citizens who are overseas.
It is illegal to vote in two or more districts. If you wish to vote in Swarthmore but have already registered in another municipality, register here and then write the other election bureau to inform them of your change.
Voting in Swarthmore
Pennsylvania Voter Registration deadline is October 9, 2012. By law, the deadline
for Pennsylvania voter registration is 30 days prior to the next election. Registration forms must be addressed, stamped with first-class postage, and postmarked by midnight October 9, 2012 to be valid for the November election.
A Pennsylvania Voter Registration form has been placed in each on-campus student's campus mailbox. PA voter registration forms are also available at the Registrar's Office or online.
Next Voting Day: November 6, 2012.
For information about upcoming elections and what will be on the ballot, call the Election Bureau at 610-891-4120, or try the nonpartisan League of Women Voter's "Smart Ballot" web site.
Check WHERE you are registered to vote in PA -- Swarthmore is in "Delaware" county. Click on this link:
The Voter registration deadline has past for the November 6 election.
The County is usually about 14 days behind in data entry of voter registration forms. The County asks that registrants not duplicate a form in the meantime.
- However, if you did not put a postage stamp on your form and then place your form in a US Mail drop-box (such as the one labeled as such at the campus mail room or the mailroom window), and if on October 8 or 9 you are concerned that your registration is not showing up online, you should consider completing another form and using a postage stamp and the US Mail to send your PA registration to Delaware County.
- Addressed and stamped forms must be postmarked before midnight October 9, 2012, to be valid.
If you have changed dorms or moved, re-register: If you have moved from one dorm to another or from one address to another, you should re-register.
To register as a Swarthmore voter, complete the entire registration form, carefully following these instructions for areas(3), (4) and (5):
- In box (3b) Swarthmore students should leave the driver licence boxes empty and use the last for digits of the social instead. Do NOT put an out-of-state driver's licence number on a Pennsylvania voter registration form.
- In box (4a) "Address of residence," if you live in College housing, put your Residence Hall name, and “Swarthmore” (don’t include your room number), unless you live in Strath Haven, in which case you must use: “801 Yale Avenue, Swarthmore” (don’t include your room number). The “municipality” is Swarthmore, and the “County” is Delaware.
- In area (5) “Mailing address” put “500 College Avenue; Swarthmore; PA; 19081” if you live in College housing.
- In the box "Address of Previous Registration" complete this if you are updating a PA registration, but if you are new to PA, leave these boxes blank.
- In the box "Voter Identification Number" just leave this blank unless you know it. It is optional.
Completed forms should be signed, dated, and mailed to:
Delaware County Voter Registration Office
201 W Front St.,
Media PA 19063-2728
Voter registration forms must be postmarked 30 days prior to the election, and
must have proper postage.
Voter registration mailer sent to you: First time registrants or change
of address registrants receive a mailer card confirming their registration,
address and voting place. Getting the mailer also indicates that you are actually
enrolled to vote at the voting place for that precinct. If you don't get a confirmation
mailer card within 14 days of registration, you should call the Delaware
County Voter Registration Office at 610-891-4659 and request immediate action
on your registration form.
Vote at the correct voting place: Vote at the
voting place where you are registered.
Bring your Swarthmore College ID. Your College ID is valid voter ID. Do NOT use an out of state drivers license as voter ID (out of state ID is not on the PA approved list).
New voters must present ID to vote. For all other voters, valid voter photo ID is will be requested (not required) for the November 6, 2012 election. The voter photo ID law was blocked for this election, though polling places are supposed to request it without requiring it. In subsequent elections, if the law is upheld, it will be required.
Voting Machine Instructions (including video) are available online. Swarthmore is a part of Delaware County, PA.
Polls open 7:00am to 8:00pm. Lines are possible. Be
patient. Lines are likely especially at times before and after traditional office
hours, or around noon, when office workers come to vote. If you are on line
prior to 8:00pm you will be allowed to vote. Do not expect to vote if you arrive
at the polling place after 8:00pm.
You can walk to the voting places. Vans may be running on election day, but all the voting locations are within
easy walking distance from the College or from your residence hall. The Northern
precinct is a 10 minute walk from Parrish; the Western precinct is a 20 minute
walk from Parrish. See
Voter Intimidation - be prepared: In years past, some Swarthmore students were intimidated by other voters who questioned the authenticity of the students' Pennsylvania residence. College students are permitted voter registration based on residence at school (assuming they otherwise qualify to vote). In general, if anyone makes you
feel uncomfortable about coming to vote, ignore them, or, if you wish, report
them to an Election Judge. All voting places have non-partisan Election Judges who understand
the rules and can defend your right to vote.
Just in case: The
Provisional ballot. If you go to the voting place for which you
are certain you are registered, but you are not on their list of registered
voters, ask an official there for help.
If no record of your registration can be found on that day, you should
ask to vote a "provisional ballot", which you will be allowed to do
at that voting place. Provisional ballots permit the county to research your
registration. If your valid registration is found, your ballot will be counted.
If no valid registration is found, your provisional ballot will NOT
be counted and you will be informed by letter.
Where to vote in Swarthmore:
Northern Precinct: Students who have registered to vote as
residents of Dana, Hallowell, Lodges, Mertz, Alice Paul, David Kemp, Parrish, Wharton,
Willets, Whittier, Woolman, and Worth, and off-campus housing north of
the tracks, vote in the Northern Precinct, at the Swarthmore-Rutledge Elementary School (SRS) at 100 College Ave, Swarthmore.
SRS is down the hill of College Ave, cross at the light and
on down past the athletic fields on the right. This is a 5-10 minute walk from
Western Precinct: Students who have registered to vote as
residents of MaryLyon, Palmer, Pittenger, Roberts, and 801 Yale Ave. (StrathHaven),
and off campus housing south of the tracks and mostly west of Route 320 (see map),
vote in the Western Precinct, at the CADES building, also known as the Cerebral Palsey Assoc of Del Co Building at 401 Rutger's Ave in Swarthmore. From campus, go down Rutgers Ave
(starts next to the PNC Bank) crossing Harvard and then Yale, then up the next
block and see the CADES building, on your left. This is a 15-20 minute walk from Parrish, and
a 10-15 minute walk from Mary Lyon.
Eastern Precinct: Students who have registered to vote as
residents in off-campus housing south of the tracks and mostly east of 320 (see
map), vote in the Eastern precinct at Borough Hall. This is in the same building
as holds the Swarthmore Public Library, in the ville on Park Ave.
How to UN-register when you move on
Send a letter to Delaware County saying you have moved out of the state (or moved out of the county), and ask that you be removed from the registry of Delaware County voters. This will remove you from the voter registry, which is also the list from which jurors are sent jury duty letters.
Sign and date the letter.
Address and send the letter to:
Mary Jo Headley
201 West Front Street
Media PA 19063