MontCo Judge Extends Deadline for Returning Absentee Ballots
Yesterday, Judge Bernard Moore granted an extension for absentee ballots to be returned to the Montgomery County Election Board. Many voters had not received their ballots on time because litigation regarding the referendum delayed printed the ballots for a record number of absentee voters.
The new deadline for domestic absentee ballots is now 8:00 PM on election night (Tuesday, Nov. 8)
just like the deadline was for military ballots and ballots from Americans Abroad
You can either:
- Return your voted 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.
- 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 announced additional extensions of its hours of operations. The Election Board will now be open:
- Fri., November 4: 8am – 5pm
- Sat., November 5, 9am – Noon
- Sun., November 6: Noon – 3pm
- Mon., November 7: 8am – 5pm
- Tue., November 8 (Election Day): 8am – 8pm
The steps above cover those voters who have received their absentee ballot.
But what if you haven’t yet received the absentee ballot you requested before the Tuesday, November 1 deadline. There are some options for you:
- You can go the Election Board in Norristown, request your absentee ballot, and vote in person. You should do this before Tuesday, because if you can go to Norristown on Tuesday, i.e., Election Day, to vote, then there is no reason you actually need to vote by absentee ballot.
- You can request that the Election Board re-send your absentee ballot. Here’s what you do. The first step is to email Matthew Macekura at firstname.lastname@example.org to request that the 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.
- As a last resort, please change your plans and head to your polling place. A team of local volunteers will help any voter get to the polls regardless of party affiliation. They will pick you up, drive you to the polls and back, and provide any assistance necessary on site to help you to your polling place (e.g. helping with walkers, finding accessibility ramps, perhaps even help you politely "jump the line" if your neighbors are willing to accomodate). Please email Narberth resident Sam Rosen or call him at 484-802-4770 as soon as possible to schedule your ride.
One other thing to point out so you won’t be surprised: The absentee ballots that are received during the extension window, i.e., after 5:00 PM on November 4, 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.)
As a result if the election Tuesday is a cliffhanger races, the nation may be kept in suspence for another week unless some court then orders the absentee ballots 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, so please share this information as widely as possibly so that everyone affected can take advantage of the extension.