Voter Registration

Voter Registration & Voting Locations

A photo of the word "vote" form by two sneakered feet forming a letter V followed by chauking of "ote"
Helpful Links:

"Votes PA"
Voting While Abroad

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.

Please read this page carefully, as the rules for registration and voting are somewhat more complicated than you might think.

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Key dates for Pennsylvania voters in 2016

2016 Pennsylvania Important dates.

  • Last day to Register to vote in the November election: October 11
  • PA General Election November 8

Pennsylvania Voter ID

  • Voters who are voting for the first time in a PA polling place are required under existing law to present a form of ID. Swarthmore College ID qualifies.
  • Do NOT use an out-of-state driver's license for Pennsylvania voter ID. (See 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.

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

For information about upcoming elections and what will be on the ballot, call the Election Bureau at 610-891-4120 or use other sources of information online.

Check WHERE you are registered to vote in PA -- Swarthmore is in "Delaware" county. Click on this link:

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.

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.

  • In "Address of residence," if you live in College housing, for "street address" put your Residence Hall name (without room number), unless you live in Strath Haven, in which case you must use: “801 Yale Avenue" (don’t include your room number).
  • The “County” is Delaware and the “Municipality” is Swarthmore Borough.
  • In “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.

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.

Voting Day

Vote at the correct voting place: Vote at the voting place where you are registered.

First time voters must present ID to vote. 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).

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 map below.

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, Danawell, 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 Parrish.

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.

voting locations

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
Voter Registration
Government Center
201 West Front Street
Media PA 19063