3 Reasons Your Mail Ballot is Secure
September 27, 2022 10:00 AM
What do you picture when you think of exercising your right to vote?
Is it memories of voting in-person on large machines with light-up plastic screens and a huge green “vote” button to push when you were ready to cast your ballot?
Or is it memories of marking paper ballots and putting them into a wooden box? Or maybe using touch screens to mark your ballot, then getting a paper print-out and feeding your ballot into a vote tabulator?
Until the passage of Act 77 of 2019, most Pennsylvania voters’ options for casting their ballot involved voting in-person at their polling place on Election Day. But thanks to Act 77, which passed through the General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support, Pennsylvania voters have been able to vote by no-excuse mail ballot since the 2020 primary (fun fact: More than 5.3 million mail ballots have been cast since then!).
Voting by mail has existed for many years in many other states, and it is a safe, secure and accessible way to cast your ballot here in PA.
Here are the top 3 reasons you can trust that your mail ballot is a secure way to vote:
- The inner secrecy envelope: When you complete your ballot (don’t forget to check both sides of the paper!), you will first seal it inside an inner secrecy envelope. This inner envelope serves two purposes: It keeps your vote a secret, and it protects your ballot from being tampered with.
- The unique barcode: Once your ballot is sealed in the inner secrecy envelope, you will then seal it in an outer envelope, which has the voter’s declaration for you to complete. This outer envelope, which you will return to your county elections office, contains a barcode that’s unique to you. When your county elections office receives your mail ballot, workers will scan this barcode to record your ballot as received.
- Chain of custody: From the moment your county receives your voted mail ballot, your ballot is securely stored until Election Day when the county can count your ballot.
One last important note: As with absentee ballots, voters who apply for mail ballots must prove their identity before their mail ballot can be counted. This practice of verifying a voter’s identity is the first step in ensuring that only registered voters who requested a ballot are receiving a mail ballot to complete.