By: Nickolas Bartel, Red & Black Contributing Writer
The W&J Student Voting Coalition aims to increase education about voting and election procedures among the W&J student body. (Photo Courtesy Nickolas Bartel)
NOV. 6 - This Tuesday is Election Day when we get an opportunity to shape our country. Whether it was from social media, the Student Voting Coalition, friends and family, or even last week’s email from the Student Government Association (SGA) Executive Board, there is a good chance that you have heard that voting is important. While that is all, of course, important, the world of fact and fiction regarding voting has been made murkier over these past years. So, in collaboration with the Washington & Jefferson College Student Voting Coalition and the Red and Black, here are some facts and fiction about elections.
Myth: If you are still in line when the polls close, you cannot vote.
Fact: On Tuesday, the polls across Pennsylvania will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. However, anyone still in line at 8 p.m. can vote!
Myth: You must show valid ID every time to vote in Pennsylvania.
Fact: You must only show ID if it is your first time at the polling place using a student ID, a passport, a driver’s license, or another valid ID. Check vote.pa.gov for a complete list.
Myth: Your mail-in ballot just needs to be postmarked on Election Day to count.
Fact: Your mail in ballot must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted. With how close the election is, handing it into the county elections office is likely your best option.
The W&J Student Voting Coalition is a non-partisan and student-run organization. (Photo Courtesy Nickolas Bartel)
Myth: We will know who will win and lose on election night.
Fact: In Pennsylvania, election officials are not allowed to start counting the mail-in ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day. Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State, who oversees elections, has said that in competitive elections, it will take a few days to determine a winner as they count and report the mail-in ballots. So as a few million mail-in ballots are being counted, the candidate winning Tuesday night may not win by the same margin or even at all and this is normal.
Myth: Election fraud is everywhere, and it will lead to a rigged election.
Fact: The Brennan Center found that election fraud rates are between 0.0003% and 0.0025%. The National Weather Service reported in 2022 that someone has a 0.006% chance of being struck by lightning with about 100 cases a year. So, someone is 20 times more likely to be struck by lightning than commit voter impersonation. In 2020, the FBI Director appointed by President Trump, the Department of Homeland Security, Trump’s former Attorney General William Barr, the Department of Justice, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and over 50 court rulings determined that any election fraud that occurred did not impact the election results and that the election process is safe and secure.
Myth: Finding non-partisan information about the election is impossible.
Fact: Check out Vote.org for more information about how or where to vote. If you want a snapshot of the candidates’ positions, go to Vote411.org or Ballotpedia for more in-depth information.
The advice provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information provided on this article are for general information purposes only. No reader should act or fail to act on the sole basis of this article’s information and should call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-687-8683 or consult an attorney to provide legal assurances on these topics.