Voting Resources for On-Campus Students
The resources below explain how to register to vote, confirm your registration, and cast your ballot if you will be on campus or in Swarthmore, Pa. on Election Day. Not on campus because you're studying remotely or taking a leave of absence? Consult our helpful resources for how to register to vote and cast your ballot everywhere else.
Pennsylvania's voter registration deadline has passed.
That means you can no longer register to vote, or update your voter registration, in Pennsylvania for the General Election on Nov. 3, 2020. You may still be able to register at your home or permanent address. Consult our voting resources for off-campus students to learn more.
Whether you vote by mail or in person, you should research what will be on your ballot. In 2020, in addition to the presidential election, there are over 95,000 positions on the ballot across the country. If you vote in Swarthmore, you will also need to vote for PA Treasurer, PA Auditor General, PA Attorney General, PA House of Representative, and US House of Representatives.
As part of the College's efforts to limit the exposure of the campus community to COVID-19, the Get Out the Vote Committee encourages students to vote by mail. In Pennsylvania, there are two options for mail ballots.
- Absentee ballot: If you plan to be out of the municipality on Election Day or if you have a disability or illness, you should request this ballot type, which requires you to list a reason why you're requesting an absentee ballot.
- Mail-in ballot: If you aren’t an absentee voter, you may apply for a mail-in ballot. Any voter registered in Pennsylvania may request this type of ballot; you do not need to have a reason. Students may find the mail-in ballot process to be easier to navigate than the absentee one.
- Interested in voting by mail, but not sure which options works for you? VotesPA offers additional explanation and resources on the types of mail ballots.
You must be registered to vote before you request an mail-in or absentee ballot!
Not sure if you're registered? Confirm your voter registration.
How to Apply for a Mail-in or Absentee Ballot
- If you’re a registered voter with a valid Pennsylvania Driver’s License or PennDOT ID number, you may apply for either option online. Once approved, you will receive an email when the ballot is mailed to you.
- If you are registered to vote in Pennsylvania but do not have one of these ID numbers, you will need to download a paper application for a mail-in ballot [pdf] or absentee ballot [pdf] and mail it to the Delaware County Board of Elections. Additional information about requesting a mail ballot is available on VotesPA.com. If you mail in your application for a ballot, it must be RECEIVED (not postmarked) by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27.
- After you have submitted your application for a mail-in or absentee ballot, you can track the status of your request, and see when your ballot has been mailed to you, on VotesPA.com. If you include an email address on your application, you will also receive updates via email.
Democracy Fellows Lily Fournier '23 and Frannie Richardson '23 created this helpful video showing you how to vote by mail in Pennsylvania.
Vote by Mail Deadlines
- Applications for mail-in or absentee ballots must be received by the county election office by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27. However, the Get Out the Vote Committee strongly recommends you request your ballot as soon as possible.
In 2020, Pennsylvania mail-in ballots can be returned two ways. Either by mail or in person to the county election office or other official designated location, such as a ballot dropbox, by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday. If you mail in your ballot, it must be postmarked by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3 AND received by the county election office by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6.
After you've requested your mail-in ballot, you can track the status. Once you receive your mail-in ballot, the Get Out the Vote Committee recommends completing it and mailing or dropping it off as soon as possible. A few important reminders about completing your mail-in ballot:
What to know about voting IN SWARTHMORE
Polling locations during the 2020 General Election may be different than in previous years due to COVID-19 safety precautions. On Election Day, confirm your polling location before you depart.
- Voting in Swarthmore is considered "essential travel" under the Garnet Pledge and is permissible. Students are reminded to wear face masks and follow the CDC's recommendations on "How to Protect Yourself & Others".
- Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Be patient if there's a wait. Lines are likely to be especially long at times before and after traditional office hours or around noon. If you are in line prior to 8 p.m. you will be allowed to vote. Do not expect to vote if you arrive at the polling place after 8 p.m.
- While the College usually offers rides to polling locations, given COVID-19 safety precautions these rides will not be offered on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020.
- Swarthmore polling places are within easy walking distance from the College. The Get Out the Vote Committee has coordinated Election Day Guides — faculty and staff members — who are available to walk with students to their respective polling places. If you want a guide to walk with you to your polling place, or have any questions on Election Day, stop by Rose Garden Circle between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
- If you require accommodations or assistance to get to a polling location, please contact Pam Shropshire, chair of the Get Out the Vote Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by Rose Garden Circle between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to arrange alternative transportation.
- You must show ID if you are voting for the first time at your designated polling place; the Committee recommends using your Swarthmore College ID or your signed voter registration card, which you will receive in the mail. Even if you have voted before, we recommend bringing your College ID in case of any confusion at the polls. Do not use an out-of-state driver's license as a voter ID.
Possible In-Person voting scenarios
- You're in the wrong polling place. If you end up at the wrong polling place, look up your voter registration information and head to that location. Most likely you went to CADES instead of SRS, or vice versa. Remember, you are assigned a specific polling location when you register to vote.
- You're told you're not registered. 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 for help. If no record of your registration can be found on that day, you should ask to vote a provisional ballot. 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.
- You're intimidated or challenged. Though unlikely, Swarthmore students may be challenged by other voters who question the authenticity of the students' Pennsylvania residence or registration. College students are indeed permitted to register to vote based on their residence at school (assuming they otherwise qualify to vote). In general, if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable about coming to vote, ignore them or report them to an Election Judge. All voting places have nonpartisan Election Judges who understand the rules and can defend your right to vote. In some cases, there may be a delay if the election judge needs to work through the Pennsylvania "challenge rules" process — in these cases, expect to provide valid Pennsylvania voter ID, such as the voter registration card mailed to you and/or your College ID, and otherwise cooperate with the Election Judge.
- If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact Election Protection, a national, nonpartisan coalition that works year-round to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to vote and have that vote count. Call the voter protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE or visit their website: 866ourvote.org
When you registered to vote in Swarthmore you were assigned a polling location based on your dorm. You must vote at the assigned polling precinct. Locate your polling location. Please note: due to COVID-19, polling locations may change. Confirm your polling location before you leave to go vote on Election Day.
|RESIDENCE Hall||POLLING PRECINCT||LOCATION ADDRESS||DIRECTIONS|
|Dana||Northern||Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS), 100 College Ave.||SRS is down the hill of College Ave. Cross at the light and continue past the athletic fields on the right. This is a 5-10 minute walk from Parrish.|
|Danawell||Northern||Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS), 100 College Ave.||SRS is down the hill of College Ave. Cross at the light and continue past the athletic fields on the right. This is a 5-10 minute walk from Parrish.|
|Hallowell||Northern||Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS), 100 College Ave.||SRS is down the hill of College Ave. Cross at the light and continue past the athletic fields on the right. This is a 5-10 minute walk from Parrish.|
|Lodges||Northern||Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS), 100 College Ave.|
|Mertz||Northern||Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS), 100 College Ave.|
|Alice Paul||Northern||Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS), 100 College Ave.|
|David Kemp||Northern||Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS), 100 College Ave.|
|Mary Lyon||Western||CADES, 401 Rutgers Ave.||Go down Rutgers Ave (starts next to the PNC Bank). Cross Harvard and Yale. Continue up the next block, you'll 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.|
|Off-campus, north of the tracks||Northern||Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS), 100 College Ave.|
|Off-campus housing, south of the tracks and mostly west of Route 320||Western||CADES, 401 Rutgers Ave.||Go down Rutgers Ave (starts next to the PNC Bank). Cross Harvard and Yale. Continue up the next block, you'll 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.|
|Off-campus housing, south of the tracks and mostly east of 320||Eastern||Swarthmore Borough Hall, 121 Park Ave.||This is the same building as the Swarthmore Public Library in the Ville.|
|Palmer||Western||CADES, 401 Rutgers Ave.||Go down Rutgers Ave (starts next to the PNC Bank). Cross Harvard and Yale. Continue up the next block, you'll 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.|
|Parrish||Northern||Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS), 100 College Ave.|
|Pittinger||Western||CADES, 401 Rutgers Ave.|
|PPR Apartments||Western||CADES, 401 Rutgers Ave.|
|Roberts||Western||CADES, 401 Rutgers Ave.|
|StrathHaven||Western||CADES, 401 Rutgers Ave.|
|Northern||Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS), 100 College Ave.|
|Willets||Northern||Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS), 100 College Ave.|
|Whittier||Northern||Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS), 100 College Ave.|
|Woolman||Northern||Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS), 100 College Ave.|
|Worth||Northern||Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS), 100 College Ave.|
How to Register to Vote in Swarthmore
The Pennsylvania voter registration deadline for the General Election was Oct. 19, 2020. You can no longer register to vote in the 2020 General Election in Pennsylvania.
- Complete the online registration form by Oct. 19, 2020.
- When registering in Swarthmore, you MUST use your dorm name as place of residence. Simply listing the College's mailing address is not enough, as there are two polling places that serve our campus. Which one you go to depends on which dorm you live in. Section 5 of your online form should look like this:
The deadline to update your voter registration in Pennsylvania has passed. If you moved or changed dorms more than 30 days before an election but did not update your registration, you can vote at the polling place for your old address for one election. Additional guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of State about moving or changing your address close to an election is available at VotesPA.com.
If you previously registered to vote in Swarthmore, you may need to update your voter registration. If you registered to vote while living in a dorm listed in one column in the chart below and have moved to a residence listed in a different column, you should re-register to vote. If you have moved to a dorm within the same column, you are still assigned to the same polling location and do not need to re-register.
For example, if you moved from Dana to Wharton, you do not need to re-register, because you are still served by the northern voting precinct. But if you moved from Dana to PPR Apartments, you do need to re-register, because your polling location has changed.
|NORTHERN PRECINCT REsidences||WESTERN PRECINCT Residences||EASTERN PRECINCT Residences|
Off-campus, north of the train tracks
Off-campus, south of the train tracks and mostly west of Route 320
|Off-campus, south of the train tracks and mostly east of Route 320|
After you register or change your registration, you will receive a card in the mail confirming your registration, address, and designated voting location. It may take about 14 days to receive the mailing. If you don't get it within 14 days of submitting your registration, or if you have another question specific to your attempt to register, please follow up. You can check your PA voter registration status online or call the Delaware County Voter Registration Office at 610-891-4659.