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Voting at the Polls: What to Expect 

Exercising your right to vote is a powerful part of our democracy, but if you’ve never voted before, you might not know what to expect. Let’s talk about what it’s like to vote in person at your polling location.  

Before Election Day, make sure you are registered to vote and have the address of your polling place. 

Polls are open in Pennsylvania on Election Day from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and you can arrive any time during that window. If you are in line before or at the time the polls close, you will be allowed to cast your vote.  

    • Check-In. When you arrive at your polling place, check in with a poll worker.  
      • Show ID. If you are a first–time voter, or this is your first time voting at this location, you’ll need to present an approved form of ID. 
      • Sign the roster. Sign the voter roster list next to your name.  
      • Request accommodations. If you need any accommodations, tell a poll worker so they can help. Learn more about accessible voting at   
      • Voting Tip: If at any point you have questions, ask a poll worker! They can help you cast your ballot properly.    
    • Mark Your ballot. You will either be given a paper ballot to fill in by hand, or a poll worker will show you to an available ballot marking device. Learn more about Allegheny County’s Voting Systems.  
      • Voting Tip: Remember that voting is not a test! You are allowed (and encouraged) to bring a voting plan or voting guide into the polls with you. Read our FAQ about researching candidates and make a list of who you plan to vote for before heading to the polls.  
    • Cast Your ballot: If you filled out a paper ballot by hand, review your selections and submit your ballot by inserting it into the ballot scanner. If you used a ballot marking device, review your selections, touch PRINT CARD to print your ballot, and submit your ballot by inserting it into the ballot scanner.  
      • Voting Tip: If you make an error on your ballot, alert a poll worker and they can help you start over.   
    • Feel Accomplished! You just voted!   


Note: As a publicly-funded institution, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and its employees cannot express opinions, advocate—either actively or passively—for a candidate or cause or try to sway potential voters one way or the other. As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, as defined by the IRS, CLP and its employees are prohibited from engaging “in partisan activities, including but not limited to interventions in support or against any candidate for public office.” Our goal is to provide balanced, unbiased information to our community in the form of displays, programs and resources. 

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