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About the Election Board

In a "normal" year, the three County Commissioners. In a year in which the County Commissioners are candidates, or when there is a County Home Rule Charter on the ballot, the President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas will appoint replacement members to the Board.

The current Election Board members are:
  • Michael S. Rivera, Commissioner (Chair)
  • Christian Y. Leinbach, Commissioner (Vice Chair)
  • Dante Santoni, Jr., Commissioner
  • Solicitor Christine Sadler (Non-Voting Legal Counsel)
Meetings are generally conducted on Thursdays immediately following the Commissioners Meeting as necessary. If there are no pending agenda items, the meeting will be postponed until the following week. The meetings are covered in the Reading Eagle.
The Board of Elections does have mandatory subpoena power, similar to that in the criminal courts, and may hold a full hearing on any election matter it deems appropriate. The Board is not merely a ministerial panel. It has been held by the Pennsylvania appellate courts to have "quasi-judicial powers", including sovereign immunity when acting in the quasi-judicial nature of its duties. It also has the power to grant immunity from prosecution in Election Code matters, and therefore a subpoenaed witness may not invoke a Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination defense to a Board of Elections subpoena.
Yes, to both questions. Admittedly, meetings can be a challenge for some people to attend. Issues of unusual public importance or interest can be scheduled at other times. If any citizen would like to address the Board at some length or in some detail, it is advisable to contact our office at 610-478-6490 to be given a position on a meeting agenda.
Brief or general comments can be made during the public comment section at the end of every meeting, but for more complicated presentations, please request an agenda listing. If you would like to comment on an agenda item before it is voted upon, please contact the Director of Elections prior to the meeting, or even during the meeting, and you will be recognized to speak to the issue.

Ballot & Voting Eligibility

7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you are in line by 8pm you will be allowed to vote.
First time voters will be required to show identification on the day of the Election.

If you are not already registered to vote, the registration deadline is Oct. 21, 2024, for the Nov. 5, 2024 General Election.
If you are a First Time Voter, be sure to check what you will need to bring with you on Election Day.

In addition to proper identification, you may choose to bring the following items with you to the polls:
  • A list of candidates on the ballot
  • A list of key issues or specific proposals that are on the ballot
Yes, if your birthday is the day of the election or before.
No. The Election Services office cannot accept any electronic signatures.
Due to recent appellate court decisions, Pennsylvania has one of the nation's most permissive laws regarding voters with criminal records. Only prisoners currently incarcerated (including in halfway house treatment facilities) for conviction of a felony are prevented from voting. Any ex-felon who is released from incarceration may vote, even if still on parole, if he has a current registration. In some cases, that may mean he needs to re-register.

Anyone incarcerated awaiting trial or on conviction of a misdemeanor may vote by absentee ballot at his previous home precinct, not at the address of the correctional facility. The inmate has the obligation to initiate that request, however, preferably through a friend or family member. Our office checks with the Clerk of Courts' office all absentee ballot requests going to a correctional facility to determine why the individual is incarcerated. Non-felons get their ballots. This is pursuant to a legal opinion issued by the Attorney General's office.
Yes. All electors who have their voter registration record listed in the pollbook at the polling place may vote one last time even though they may have moved from the division. The law has changed; it no longer matters when the voter moved from the division; if his or her name is in the pollbook, the elector is entitled to vote.

However, if a voter has moved, he should complete a new voter registration application with the new address. The legislature has passed a law that this ability to vote at one's "old" address is limited to one time only. After that, a voter may be challenged as to residency.
It is no longer legal to remove any voter from the rolls merely for not voting, no matter how long that may be, as long as they maintain their voter record with a valid address. Aside from death or requesting to be removed from the voter rolls, there are two ways that voters may be removed from the voter rolls. One is through an NCOA, or National Change of Address notice. The other is through a "5-Year No Contact" mailing.

If a voter appears on either mailing list, they are sent a notice from our office. Failure to respond to that notice, or if the notice is returned to us as undeliverable, the voter is placed on "Inactive" status. When a voter is on "Inactive" status through two federal elections (even numbered year November elections), and has not voted, their voting record may be purged.

Pennsylvania law provides for permanent voter registration, unless the voter's registration should be cancelled in accordance with law. All electors, except those in the military service of the United States and bedridden or hospitalized war veterans unavoidably absent from their county of residence, must be registered to be eligible to vote.

Logistics of Voting

Per Act 77 of 2019, you no longer have a shortcut straight-party button to vote for all candidates of one party. However, this change does not prevent you from selecting only candidates from one party. It simply removes the shortcut button option. If you want to vote for all candidates of one party, you will have to select the candidates one at a time.
No. In a primary election, all candidates that you can vote for are in your party. You may write in a candidate of another party, but it seldom results in much, unless an office shows no candidates in your party.
Click here to find your polling location. 
Effective 2004, all new voters in a precinct will need to provide some proof of residency. This is true whether the voter is a brand new voter or has recently moved. Therefore, if you are a first time voter in a new precinct, you must show ID.

Under law in effect in 2003 and before, voters are not required to produce their registration card to vote. If an election official is having difficulty locating your name in a pollbook, having your card handy may be helpful and appreciated, but NO ONE MAY REQUIRE IT before allowing you to vote.

There is no legal requirement that a person be given such assistance. We recommend, however, that you contact the County Committee of either party, or the campaign headquarters of a candidate you support.

Major Party Phone Numbers

Democratic County Committee 610-376-2304
Republican County Committee


Yes, under the Pennsylvania Voter Registration Act (enacted June 30, 1995), State law implementing the Federal "Motor Voter" statute (the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 or NVRA) which took effect on January 1, 1996, a voter may have assistance in voting if he or she is unable to see or mark the ballot, operate the voting machine, or enter the voting machine booth without assistance. If the voter has not already indicated on his or her registration record that he or she will require assistance in voting, then that voter may fill out a declaration at the polling place on election day.

A voter may choose anyone to assist him or her with the following exceptions: a voter may not seek assistance from his or her employer; the agent of his or her employer; or an officer or agent of his or her union. (Explanation: an amendment to the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. {1973aa-6, effective 1/1/84} supersedes state law.) Under the new PA Act 150 of 2002, the precinct Judge of Election may likewise not provide in-booth assistance.
The Election Code sets a maximum of three minutes. However, if other people are not waiting to vote, the election officers may allow you more time. Voters should familiarize themselves with the ballot by examining the sample ballot posted at the polling place before they enter the voting machine.
Yes. The law stipulates that anyone arriving at the polling place before 8 p.m. may vote, assuming that he or she is qualified to vote and his or her registration record is in the pollbook. A long line may force some individuals to vote after 8:00 p.m. This procedure is legal. The Office of Election Services recommends that a member of the Election Board, or the Constable, refrain from voting during the day, and that he or she stand at the end of the line at 8:00 p.m. This process will ensure that no one enters the line of voters after 8:00 p.m.

Write-In Voting

Follow these steps when you don't see the person you want to vote for on the ballot.

Conduct Inside the Polling Place

The Election Board consists of five officials: Judge of Election, Majority Inspector, Minority Inspector, Clerk, and Machine Inspector. All five should reside in the division where the polling place is located. The Judge of Election, Majority Inspector, and Minority Inspector are ELECTED to four-year terms. The current officials were selected in November 2021. The Clerk is appointed by the Minority Inspector, and the Machine Inspector is appointed by the County Board of Elections.

Often, Judges of Election, Majority Inspectors, and Minority Inspectors are NOT elected. This may happen if: 1) no one ran for the position, 2) the person who was elected moved away or resigned,  or 3) the elected official became ill on election day and someone else filled their position.  If a vacancy occurs before election day, a Court of Common Pleas Judge should be informed so he or she can appoint someone else to fill the vacancy. However, in most counties this procedure is often ignored. Instead, five (5) days before each election, the Board of Elections appoints temporary officials. This informal process works adequately in most divisions.
No. Although the Election Code attempts to create a bipartisan board, this is not mandated. Generally, the Judge of Election and Majority Inspector are from one party, and the Minority Inspector and Clerk are from the other party. (The Machine Inspector gives one side a three-to-two majority.) However, last minute vacancies, and the unavailability of volunteers, often hinder the creation of a bipartisan board.
From 6:30 a.m. until the polls open: members of the election board and all people with watchers' certificates. Candidates are allowed two watchers per polling place; political parties and bodies are allowed three watchers per polling place. Candidates and Committeepeople are not allowed inside the polling place unless they have watchers' certificates.

During election hours (7:00 a.m. until the last person in line at 8:00 p.m. has voted), members of the election board, people with watchers' certificates (one watcher per candidate and one watcher per party and body), people waiting to vote, and people rendering assistance to voters authorized to receive it are allowed inside the polling place. Candidates and Committeepeople are not allowed in the polling place without watchers' certificates. Police are allowed inside the polling place if summoned by the Judge of Election.

After the polls close: members of the election board, people with watchers' certificates, and candidates are allowed inside. Throughout the day: County Commissioners, election department employees on official business, and voting machine mechanics are allowed inside the polls.

MEDIA PERSONNEL are NOT allowed inside the polling place at any time.

NOTE: Any number of people may stand OUTSIDE the polling place. Anyone engaged in partisan political activity, however, must stand at least ten (10) feet from the entrance of the polling place.
Yes. For example, a person may be the Judge of Election and a Committee person. However, that person may not engage in any partisan political activities from 6:30 in the morning until the polls close. On election day, the individual must fulfill his or her responsibilities as a member of the election board and must act in a strictly nonpartisan manner. Furthermore, that person may not "take breaks" to perform the various duties of Committeepeople (for example, gathering voters and campaigning for candidates).
No. The Pennsylvania Election Code and the Constitution of Pennsylvania provides that County, City and court employees are ineligible to serve as polling place officials.
It depends.

COURT EMPLOYEES: A court rule approved by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court prohibits all Court employees from engaging in partisan political activities. However, ballot referenda are not partisan, so Court employees may work at the polls to support or oppose a ballot question (provided they hand out materials at least ten (10) feet from the polling place entrance).

CITY & COUNTY EMPLOYEES: The Reading Home Rule Charter forbids MOST City employees from engaging in partisan political activities during working hours. Such individuals, therefore, may legally campaign for candidates on election day, a City government holiday. Similar to Court employees, County or City employees may also campaign for or against a ballot question as long as they remain at least ten (10) feet from the entrance to the polling place.