PENNSYLVANIA ELECTION CODE (25 P.S. 2601 et. seq.)

(25 P.S. 2601 et. seq.)

A number of disclosures must be made concerning federal, state, and local elections. These disclosures are found in the Pennsylvania Election Code and apply to county boards of elections throughout Pennsylvania.

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Definitions (25 P.S. §2601, 16 P.S. 210 and 45 Pa. C.S.A. § 101)

(25 P.S. §2601, 16 P.S. 210 and 45 Pa. C.S.A. § 101)

"county" shall mean any county of this Commonwealth.

"county board" or "board" shall mean the county board of elections of any county herein provided for.

"election" shall mean any general, municipal, special or primary election, unless otherwise specified.

"election board" shall mean the election officers required to conduct primaries and elections in any election district in accordance with the provisions of this act.

"election district" shall mean a district, division or precinct, established in accordance with the provisions of this act, within which all qualified electors vote at one polling place.

"first class county" shall mean a county having a population of 1,500,000 inhabitants and over.

"general election" shall mean the election which the Constitution of this Commonwealth requires to be held in even-numbered years.

"municipal election" shall mean the election which the Constitution of this Commonwealth requires to be held in odd-numbered years.

"newspaper of general circulation" shall mean a newspaper issued daily, or not less than once a week, intended for general distribution and circulation, and sold at fixed prices per copy per week, per month or per annum, to subscribers and readers without regard to business, trade, profession or class.

shall mean a newspaper issued daily, or not less than once a week, intended for general distribution and circulation, and sold at fixed prices per copy per week, per month or per annum, to subscribers and readers without regard to business, trade, profession or class.

"nomination" shall mean the selection, in accordance with the provisions of this act, of a candidate for a public office authorized to be voted for at an election.

"November election" shall mean either the general or municipal election, or both, according to the context.

"polling place" shall mean the room provided in each election district for voting at a primary or election.

"primary" or "primary election" shall mean any election held for the purpose of electing party officers and nominating candidates for public offices to be voted for at an election.

"public office" shall include every public office to which persons can be elected by a vote of the electors under the laws of this State (including federal office).

"second class county" shall mean a county having a population between 800,000 and 1,500,000 inhabitants.

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Notice Requirements for Election Matters:

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Duties of the County Boards of Elections (25 P.S. §§ 2642(h) and 2645(a))

(25 P.S. §§ 2642(h) and 2645(a))

The county boards of elections must prepare and publish all required notices and advertisements concerning the conduct of primaries and elections. The county commissioners must appropriate funds necessary to cover the expenses of the county board of elections, including the publication of notices.

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Publication of Notices (25 P.S. § 2606)

(25 P.S. § 2606)

Newspapers in which notices must be published: Whenever the Election Code requires notice by newspaper publication, the notice must be published in at least two (2) but not more than three (3) newspapers of general circulation. If the newspapers are published within the county or municipality, at least one of them must represent the majority party and at least one must represent the minority party. If there are not two such newspapers, then publication must be made in at least one newspaper of general circulation representing either the majority party or the minority party (whichever is published in the county) and at least one newspaper of general circulation representing the other party published in an adjacent county, but which circulates in the county or municipality in which notice is required.

If three or more newspapers of general circulation are published within any county or municipality, publication may be made in all three newspapers, notwith-standing the fact that all the newspapers represent either the majority or minority party.

Additional Requirements: Whenever the required notice relates to any matter or proceeding in court or to the sale of bonds or the increase of indebtedness, notice must also be published in the legal newspaper for the county, if one exists, provided it can be made the same day as in newspapers of general circulation.

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Publication of Primary Nominations and Elections

(25 P.S. § 2866) Required Information: The following information must be published in newspapers (see Publication of Notices 25 P.S. §2606) no earlier than twelve weeks and no later than eleven weeks prior to any general or municipal primary by the county board of elections:

  • a list of all public offices for which nominations are to be made, as well as, the number of delegates and alternate delegates to the national convention of each party who are to be elected in the state at large and in the county (or in any district of the county).
  • a list of all party offices, including members of the national and state committees, to be elected in the county (or in any district of the county) or in the state at large
  • the date of the primary

Duration: The ad must be published once a week for two successive weeks in counties of the first and second class and once in all other counties.

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Notice Of November Elections (25 P.S. § 3041)

(25 P.S. § 3041)

The county board of elections in each county must give notice by newspaper publication of each November election not more than ten (10) days or less than three (3) days beforehand in the county, in accordance with 25 P.S. §2606 (Publication of Notices). Notice must be published twice in counties of the first class and once in all other counties.

The notice must include the following:

  • Officers to be elected in the state, county (including any district of which the county or part of the county forms a part), any city, borough, township, school district, poor district, ward or other district contained in the county;
  • The names of candidates for election to federal, state, county and city offices;
  • The text of all constitutional amendments and other ballot questions to be submitted to the voters;
  • The places at which the election is to be held in the various election districts of the county; and
  • The date of the election and the hours during which the polls will be open.

This notice may include a portion of the ballot form or a diagram of the voting machine face in reduced size.

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Casting of Lots for Ballot Positions (25 P.S. § 2875)

(25 P.S. § 2875)

The county board of elections must give notice of the casting of lots for the position of names on the primary ballot. The county board shall give at least two (2) days notice of said date by a conspicuous posting in its office, and by publication once in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation published in the county.

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Notice of Offices Under the New Classification of a County(25 P.S. §§ 2951, 3041)

(25 P.S. §§ 2951, 3041)

Pursuant to a county's change in classification, the board of elections must give notice by newspaper publication, at least twice, of all county offices under the new classification. The advertisement must indicate whether the nominations for offices were obtained at the primary election or were treated as vacancies filled by a party.

Notice of the November general election must be given not earlier than ten (10) days nor later than three (3) days before the election (see 25 P.S. §3041). The notice must be published twice in counties of the first class and once in all other counties (see Publication of Notices 25 P.S. §2606). The notice must include the following:

  • Any county offices which will cease to exist, indicating that those offices and any candidates for those offices will not appear on the November ballot;
  • Existing county offices which will continue to exist and the candidates for those offices; and
  • County offices which will come into existence and the candidates for those offices.

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Testing of Automatic Tabulating Equipment (25 P.S. § 3031.14(a))

(25 P.S. § 3031.14(a))

At least four days before each election, the county board of elections must have the central automatic tabulating equipment tested to ensure its accuracy. Public notice of the time and place of the test must be given once, at least 48 hours before the test, by newspaper publication in the county in accordance with 25 P.S. §2606 (Publication of Notices).

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Notice of Proposed Constitutional Amendments (25 P.S. § 3041.2)

(25 P.S. § 3041.2)

The Secretary of the Commonwealth must publish all proposed amendments to the Constitution of Pennsylvania in at least two newspapers in every county in which such newspapers shall be published. The Department of State must pay the costs of these publications from the General Fund.

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Notice of Meetings for Computation of Votes (25 P.S. § 3153(a))

(25 P.S. § 3153(a))

The county board of elections shall arrange for the computation of the votes from each primary and election at its office or some other convenient public place at the county seat. At least one week prior to the computation of votes, the county board of elections must publish notice by newspaper publication, in accordance with 25 P.S. §2606 (Publication of Notices), of the time and place at which the board will hold its sessions for the computation of votes. Copies of the advertisement must be posted in the board's office until the computation is completed.

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Records and documents to be open to public inspection (25 P.S. §2622)

(25 P.S. §2622)

The records of the Secretary of the Commonwealth and all returns, nomination petitions, certificates and papers, other petitions, accounts, contracts, reports and other documents and records in his custody shall be open to public inspection, and may be inspected and copied by any qualified elector of the State during ordinary business hours at any time when they are not necessarily being used by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, or his deputy or employees having duties to perform in reference thereto: Provided, however, That such public inspection thereof shall only be in the presence of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, or his deputy or one of his authorized employees, and shall be subject to proper regulation for safekeeping of the records and documents, and subject to the further provisions of this act.

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See also: Advertising (Political)

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