Students have less than one week to register to vote

By Emily Brindley / Assistant News Editor

Even though election day is still five weeks out, the voter registration deadline –– Oct. 11 ––  is less than one week away.

For many Pitt students, this is the first presidential election they are eligible to vote in. For others, this is their first time voting away from home. In any case, we have compiled resources about how to register, how to check registration status and how to vote with an absentee ballot.

How to register online

First-time voters who want to register in the state of Pennsylvania can do so online at the Department of State’s voter services website. The application requires voters to fill in basic personal information such as their name, address, birth date and either a Pennsylvania driver’s license number, a PennDOT ID number or a social security number.

The online application is processed through the county voter registration office, which will then mail a voter registration card to the voter’s address, as indicated on the application.

For voters who don’t want to register online, they can print the same application and mail or deliver it to the county voter registration office — which is Allegheny County for students registering through an Oakland address. To register to vote in this year’s presidential election, mail applications must be postmarked by Oct. 11.

All first-time voters must bring a form of photo ID to the polls on election day. Acceptable forms of ID include a Pennsylvania driver’s license, a U.S. passport or a student ID.

How to check voter registration status

Students who think they’re already registered to vote can check their registration status at the voter services website as well. Voters can search by their Pennsylvania driver’s license number, their PennDOT ID number or by their name and address.

How to send in a PA absentee ballot

In-state students who registered to vote through their home address rather than their Pitt address can send in absentee ballots to vote in the election without leaving Oakland. Students must first fill out an absentee ballot application, which can be found on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania website. Students should mail their application to the County Voter Registration Office ––  using the county of the address they wrote on their application ––  and enclose a photocopy of an acceptable form of photo ID. To find the correct office’s address, voters can visit the county information tab on Votes PA’s website.

Once the application is approved, the Voter Registration Office will mail an absentee ballot to the student, which can then be completed and returned to the same address the application was sent to.

Absentee ballot applications must be received by Nov. 1, and completed ballots must be received by Nov. 4. Absentee voters should note that the postmarked date makes no difference and should allow several days for the applications and ballots to reach the County Board of Elections Office.

For out-of-state students who plan to vote via an absentee ballot using their permanent address, the process varies slightly by state. Instructions can be found online at each state’s official website.



New York:

New Jersey:




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