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In most of PA, the primary picks the winner

Plus, everything you need to know for Election Day.

This is The Investigator, a free weekly newsletter with the top news from across Pennsylvania.
A weekly newsletter by Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.

April 18, 2024 | spotlightpa.org

Millions of voters across the political spectrum will have little choice this year in who represents them in the state House and Senate.

That's thanks to a lack of competitive state legislative districts coupled with Pennsylvania's closed primary system, Spotlight PA's Kate Huangpu reports.

Also this week, Spotlight PA continued to prepare voters to participate in Tuesday's primary election. We have an explainer on mail ballot security and the latest on fundraising in the attorney general's race. Keep reading to get all the info you need to cast a ballot next week. 

Finally, Gov. Josh Shapiro's budget reflects lessons Pennsylvania learned from losing major dairy brand Fairlife to New York.

BROKEN PRIMARIES: Join us Friday, April 19 from 6-7 p.m. ET on Zoom for a Spotlight PA members-only event with Nick Troiano, author of The Primary Solution, a new book on how our partisan primaries are fueling the political divide in America and what we can do about it.

Become a Spotlight PA member here and you'll be automatically registered for the event.

» Penn State increases transparency into misconduct reports. Here’s what the data say.

All the information you need for Election Day

Pennsylvania’s 2024 primary election is here.

Democrats and Republicans will head to the polls to select candidates for president, U.S. House and Senate, Pennsylvania’s three row offices (attorney general, auditor general, and treasurer), and state House and Senate. 

The winners will face each other during the Nov. 5 general election.

Here are answers to some of your most frequently asked questions. Elizabeth Estrada, Spotlight PA

When is the 2024 primary election in Pennsylvania?

Next Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

When do polls open for Pennsylvania’s 2024 primary election?

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. As long as you are in line to vote by 8 p.m., you are entitled to cast a ballot.

Where do I vote?

You can find your polling location on the Pennsylvania Department of State website.

Am I registered to vote?

You can check your voter registration online. Search using your name, county, ZIP code, and birthday, or by entering your driver’s license or PennDOT identification card number.

Can I vote if I forgot to register?

Unfortunately, April 8 was the deadline to register to vote in this election.

Can I vote if my registration is inactive?

Yes! A voter is marked inactive if they have not voted for two consecutive federal election cycles and haven’t responded to a county notice about their registration.

If that’s your status, you can still vote on April 23. You’ll just have to sign a form confirming your eligibility when you visit your polling place.

Can I vote if I moved but haven’t updated my registration?

If you moved within Pennsylvania less than 30 days before the election, you have to vote at the polling place for your old address. If you moved within the commonwealth more than 30 days ago but haven’t yet updated your registration, you can vote at the polling place for your old address for one election.

If you have specifically moved from one county to another, you must fill out a form at your polling place with your new address and county. This will allow officials to update your voter registration in both counties after the election. Once they do that, you will get a new voter registration card matching your new address.

Read more in the “If you move” section of the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website.

What do I need to bring to vote?

If this is your first time voting or your first time voting since changing addresses, you’ll need to bring proof of identification. This can include any government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or U.S. passport, a utility bill or bank statement that includes your name and address, or a military or student ID. See the full list of options here.

I voted by mail. How do I check my ballot has been received?

You can check the status of your mail ballot online.

I still have my mail ballot. How can I return it?

Your county must receive your ballot by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Do not put your ballot in the mail since it will not arrive by the deadline.

Instead, drop it off at your county election office or at a satellite location or drop box, if your county offers those options. See a full list of ballot drop-off locations.

Follow all the instructions to make sure your ballot is counted.

I requested a mail ballot but haven’t gotten it. What should I do?

If you have not received your mail ballot, you can still vote in person at your polling location.

A poll worker will offer you a provisional ballot, which will be counted after election officials confirm you did not submit a mail ballot.

I have a mail ballot but don’t want to use it. How can I vote?

Bring all your mail ballot components, including the envelopes, to your polling place and turn them over to poll workers. You’ll be required to sign a form declaring that you haven’t voted by mail. After that, you should be allowed to vote at the precinct.

🤔 NEXT QUESTION: Are you on top of the news? Prove it with the latest edition of the Great PA News Quiz: 2024 primary questions, January 6 charges, and Biden tariffs
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Spotlight PA's 'Now Brewing the Truth' coffee mug, now available at the Spotlight PA store.
Our brand new ‘Now Brewing the Truth’ coffee/latte mugs are here! Matte black with white inside, perfect for every day use or as a gift! Proceeds from the Spotlight PA store benefit our nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. 

Please allow 1-2 weeks for shipping. Have an idea for a product you'd like to see? Send us a note at membership@spotlightpa.org.
Send your answers to riddler@spotlightpa.org.

THE DOORS (Case No. 252)A man is driving and sees three doors — one golden, one silver, and one diamond. Which door does he open first?
Feeling smart? Challenge a friend.

Last week's answer: Clove to graph. Find last week's clue here

Congrats to Amy D. S., who will receive Spotlight PA swag. Others who answered correctly: Catharine R., Annette I., Beth T., Norman S., Harriet Z., Joe D., Frederick H., Suzie M., Joan C., Michael H., Edward F., Alan B., Ted W., Michelle T., Karen B., Judith A., Peter S., Marisa B., Lynda G., Kevin M., Jeffrey F., Tim K., Sheryl W., Karen W., Phil C., David M., Mary B., Pat S., Lauren B.-K., Leann T., Trish B., and Cosette J.
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