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ARTICLE VII

ELECTIONS

 

Sec.

 1.  Qualifications of electors.

 2.  General election day.

 3.  Municipal election day; offices to be filled on election

     days.

 4.  Method of elections; secrecy in voting.

 5.  Electors privileged from arrest.

 6.  Election and registration laws.

 7.  Bribery of electors.

 8.  Witnesses in contested elections.

 9.  Fixing election districts.

10.  Viva voce elections.

11.  Election officers.

12.  Disqualifications for service as election officer.

13.  Contested elections.

14.  Absentee voting.

 

Adoption.  Unless otherwise noted, the provisions of present Article VII (formerly Article VIII) were adopted December 16, 1873, 1874 P.L.3, effective January 1, 1874. The present article heading was amended May 16, 1967, P.L.1048, J.R.5, and the article was renumbered from VIII to VII by proclamation of the Governor of July 7, 1967, P.L.1063.

Prior Provisions.  Former Article VII (Oath of Office) was repealed by amendment of May 17, 1966, 1965 P.L.1928, J.R.10. The subject matter is now contained in section 3 of Article VI (Public Officers).

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§ 1.  Qualifications of electors.

Every citizen 21 years of age, possessing the following qualifications, shall be entitled to vote at all elections subject, however, to such laws requiring and regulating the registration of electors as the General Assembly may enact.

1.  He or she shall have been a citizen of the United States at least one month.

2.  He or she shall have resided in the State 90 days immediately preceding the election.

3.  He or she shall have resided in the election district where he or she shall offer to vote at least 60 days immediately preceding the election, except that if qualified to vote in an election district prior to removal of residence, he or she may, if a resident of Pennsylvania, vote in the election district from which he or she removed his or her residence within 60 days preceding the election.

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(Nov. 5, 1901, P.L.881, J.R.1; Nov. 7, 1933, P.L.1559, J.R.5; Nov. 3, 1959, P.L.2160, J.R.3; May 16, 1967, P.L.1048, J.R.5)

 

Age of Electors.  The age at which a citizen is entitled to vote was changed from 21 to 18 years of age. See Amendment XXVI to the Constitution of the United States and section 701 of the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania Election Code.

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§ 2.  General election day.

The general election shall be held biennially on the Tuesday next following the first Monday of November in each even-numbered year, but the General Assembly may by law fix a different day, two-thirds of all the members of each House consenting thereto: Provided, That such election shall always be held in an even-numbered year.

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(Nov. 2, 1909, P.L.948, J.R.1; May 16, 1967, P.L.1048, J.R.5)

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§ 3.  Municipal election day; offices to be filled on election days.

All judges elected by the electors of the State at large may be elected at either a general or municipal election, as circumstances may require. All elections for judges of the courts for the several judicial districts, and for county, city, ward, borough, and township officers, for regular terms of service, shall be held on the municipal election day; namely, the Tuesday next following the first Monday of November in each odd-numbered year, but the General Assembly may by law fix a different day, two-thirds of all the members of each House consenting thereto: Provided, That such elections shall be held in an odd-numbered year: Provided further, That all judges for the courts of the several judicial districts holding office at the present time, whose terms of office may end in an odd-numbered year, shall continue to hold their offices until the first Monday of January in the next succeeding even-numbered year.

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(Nov. 2, 1909, P.L.948, J.R.1; Nov. 4, 1913, P.L.1477, C.R.3; May 16, 1967, P.L.1048, J.R.5)

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§ 4.  Method of elections; secrecy in voting.

All elections by the citizens shall be by ballot or by such other method as may be prescribed by law: Provided, That secrecy in voting be preserved.

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(Nov. 5, 1901, P.L.882, J.R.2)

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§ 5.  Electors privileged from arrest.

Electors shall in all cases except treason, felony and breach or surety of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance on elections and in going to and returning therefrom.

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§ 6.  Election and registration laws.

All laws regulating the holding of elections by the citizens, or for the registration of electors, shall be uniform throughout the State, except that laws regulating and requiring the registration of electors may be enacted to apply to cities only, provided that such laws be uniform for cities of the same class, and except further, that the General Assembly shall by general law, permit the use of voting machines, or other mechanical devices for registering or recording and computing the vote, at all elections or primaries, in any county, city, borough, incorporated town or township of the Commonwealth, at the option of the electors of such county, city, borough, incorporated town or township, without being obliged to require the use of such voting machines or mechanical devices in any other county, city, borough, incorporated town or township, under such regulations with reference thereto as the General Assembly may from time to time prescribe. The General Assembly may, from time to time, prescribe the number and duties of election officers in any political subdivision of the Commonwealth in which voting machines or other mechanical devices authorized by this section may be used.

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(Nov. 5, 1901, P.L.881, J.R.1; Nov. 6, 1928, 1927 P.L.1050, J.R.13; May 16, 1967, P.L.1048, J.R.5)

 

1967 Amendment.  Joint Resolution No.5 repealed former section 6 and amended and renumbered former section 7 to present section 6.

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§ 7.  Bribery of electors.

Any person who shall give, or promise or offer to give, to an elector, any money, reward or other valuable consideration for his vote at an election, or for withholding the same, or who shall give or promise to give such consideration to any other person or party for such elector's vote or for the withholding thereof, and any elector who shall receive or agree to receive, for himself or for another, any money, reward or other valuable consideration for his vote at an election, or for withholding the same, shall thereby forfeit the right to vote at such election, and any elector whose right to vote shall be challenged for such cause before the election officers, shall be required to swear or affirm that the matter of the challenge is untrue before his vote shall be received.

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Prior Provisions.  Former section 7 was renumbered to present section 6 and present section 7 was renumbered from former section 8 by amendment of May 16, 1967, P.L.1048, J.R.5.

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§ 8.  Witnesses in contested elections.

In trials of contested elections and in proceedings for the investigation of elections, no person shall be permitted to withhold his testimony upon the ground that it may criminate himself or subject him to public infamy; but such testimony shall not afterwards be used against him in any judicial proceedings except for perjury in giving such testimony.

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Prior Provisions.  Former section 8 was renumbered to present section 7 and present section 8 was renumbered from former section 10 by amendment of May 16, 1967, P.L.1048, J.R.5.

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§ 9.  Fixing election districts.

Townships and wards of cities or boroughs shall form or be divided into election districts of compact and contiguous territory and their boundaries fixed and changed in such manner as may be provided by law.

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(Nov. 6, 1928, 1927 P.L.1043, J.R.6; Nov. 2, 1943, P.L.917, J.R.1)

 

Prior Provisions.  Former section 9 was repealed and present section 9 was renumbered from former section 11 by amendment of May 16, 1967, P.L.1048, J.R.5.

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§ 10.  Viva voce elections.

All elections by persons in a representative capacity shall be viva voce or by automatic recording device publicly indicating how each person voted.

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(May 16, 1967, P.L.1048, J.R.5)

 

1967 Amendment.  Joint Resolution No.5 renumbered former section 10 to present section 8 and amended and renumbered former section 12 to present section 10.

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§ 11.  Election officers.

District election boards shall consist of a judge and two inspectors, who shall be chosen at municipal elections for such terms as may be provided by law. Each elector shall have the right to vote for the judge and one inspector, and each inspector shall appoint one clerk. The first election board for any new district shall be selected, and vacancies in election boards filled, as shall be provided by law. Election officers shall be privileged from arrest upon days of election, and while engaged in making up and transmitting returns, except upon warrant of a court of record or judge thereof, for an election fraud, for felony, or for wanton breach of the peace. In cities they may claim exemption from jury duty during their terms of service.

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(Nov. 6, 1945, P.L.1419, J.R.3; May 16, 1967, P.L.1048, J.R.5)

 

1967 Amendment.  Joint Resolution No.5 renumbered former section 11 to present section 9 and renumbered former section 14 to present section 11.

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§ 12.  Disqualifications for service as election officer.

No persons shall be qualified to serve as an election officer who shall hold, or shall within two months have held any office, appointment or employment in or under the government of the United States, or of this State, or of any city, or county, or of any municipal board, commission or trust in any city, save only notaries public and persons in the National Guard or in a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States; nor shall any election officer be eligible to any civil office to be filled at an election at which he shall serve, save only to such subordinate municipal or local offices, below the grade of city or county offices, as shall be designated by general law.

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(May 16, 1967, P.L.1048, J.R.5)

 

1967 Amendment.  Joint Resolution No.5 renumbered former section 12 to present section 10 and amended and renumbered former section 15 to present section 12.

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§ 13.  Contested elections.

The trial and determination of contested elections of electors of President and Vice-President, members of the General Assembly, and of all public officers, whether State, judicial, municipal or local, and contests involving questions submitted to the electors at any election shall be by the courts of law, or by one or more of the law judges thereof. The General Assembly shall, by general law, designate the courts and judges by whom the several classes of election contests shall be tried, and regulate the manner of trial and all matters incident thereto; but no such law assigning jurisdiction, or regulating its exercise, shall apply to any contest arising out of an election held before its passage.

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(May 16, 1967, P.L.1048, J.R.5)

 

1967 Amendment.  Joint Resolution No.5 repealed former section 13 and amended and renumbered former section 17 to present section 13.

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§ 14.  Absentee voting.

(a)  The Legislature shall, by general law, provide a manner in which, and the time and place at which, qualified electors who may, on the occurrence of any election, be absent from the municipality of their residence, because their duties, occupation or business require them to be elsewhere or who, on the occurrence of any election, are unable to attend at their proper polling places because of illness or physical disability or who will not attend a polling place because of the observance of a religious holiday or who cannot vote because of election day duties, in the case of a county employee, may vote, and for the return and canvass of their votes in the election district in which they respectively reside.

(b)  For purposes of this section, "municipality" means a city, borough, incorporated town, township or any similar general purpose unit of government which may be created by the General Assembly.

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(Nov. 5, 1957, P.L.1019, J.R.1; May 16, 1967, P.L.1048, J.R.5; Nov. 5, 1985, P.L.555, J.R.1; Nov. 4, 1997, P.L.636, J.R.3)

 

1967 Amendment.  Joint Resolution No.5 renumbered former section 14 to present section 11 and amended and renumbered former section 19 to present section 14.

1957 Amendment.  Joint Resolution No.1 added present section 14 (formerly section 19).