Pennsylvania Code & Bulletin

• No statutes or acts will be found at this website.

The Pennsylvania Bulletin website includes the following: Rulemakings by State agencies; Proposed Rulemakings by State agencies; State agency notices; the Governor’s Proclamations and Executive Orders; Actions by the General Assembly; and Statewide and local court rules.

PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 03-1538



What Constitutes a Vote

[33 Pa.B. 3935]

   Attached are the standards for what constitutes a vote required pursuant to section 301(a)(6) of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, at 42 U.S.C. § 15481(a)(6), and section 204 of Act No. 2002-150, at 25 P. S. § 2624. Section 301(a)(6) of HAVA provides:  ''Each state shall adopt uniform and nondiscriminatory standards that define what constitutes a vote and what will be counted as a vote for each category of voting system used in the State.'' (Emphasis added.) The Voting Standards Development Board, as constituted by Act 150, based its standards for what constitutes a vote on those contained in the Pennsylvania Election Code. In doing so, the Board recognizes that while standards may vary from one category of voting system to another, the standards within each category are uniform and nondiscriminatory, as required by HAVA and Act 150. The Board completed and adopted these standards on July 1, 2003, in compliance with Act 150.

   The following individuals are members of the Voting Standards Development Board:

Kenneth Rapp, Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs, and designee for the Secretary of the Commonwealth

Marlene D. Gabriel, Director of Elections and Voter Registration, Lawrence County

Judy Ordiway, Director of Elections, McKean County

Steven G. Chiavetta, Director of Elections, Dauphin County

Fred R. Smith, Director of Elections & Chief Registrar, Cambria County

Mary Jo Headley, Chief Clerk/Voter Registration, Delaware County

Contact Person:

   Interested persons may contact L. Lawrence Boyle, Deputy Chief Counsel, Department of State, 302 North Office Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120-0029,, (717) 787-6802.

Secretary of the Commonwealth

Definitions for What Constitutes a Vote

   Ballot card:*  A card upon which the voter casts his votes by the process of punching or marking, and which is counted by automatic tabulating equipment.

   Ballot question or question:*  The statement of a constitutional amendment or other proposition that is submitted to a popular vote at any election.

   Ballot response:  The choices available to the voter in a ballot question.

   Chad:  The small piece of a punch card ballot card that, when removed in the voting process, leaves a hole that is recognizable by automatic tabulating equipment.

   Marking device:  Any approved device for marking a paper or optical scan ballot with ink or other substances that will enable votes to be tabulated by hand or by means of automatic tabulating equipment. Paper ballots counted by hand shall be marked using black lead pencil, indelible pencil or blue, black or blue-black ink in fountain pen or ballpoint pen. If automatic tabulating equipment is used to count ballots, the marking instrument recommended by the manufacturer of the equipment for proper marking shall be used.

   Mark sense mark:  A properly cast vote on an optical scan voting system which can include blackening the oval or filling in the blank space in an arrow or line.

   Paper ballot:*  A ballot that is marked by the voter with crosses or checks in the target areas, which is always tabulated by hand, not with automatic tabulating equipment.

   Properly marked:  A paper ballot in which the appropriate target area is marked with a cross or a check or an optical scan ballot on which the oval is blackened, or the incomplete line or arrow is connected. To be considered properly marked, the voter may not cast votes for more than the allowable number of candidates in an office or more than one choice in a ballot question.

   Properly punched:  A punch card ballot card with chad(s) completely separated or with chad(s) in which two (2) or more corners are broken or separated from the card. To be considered properly punched, the voter may not cast votes for more than the allowable number of candidates in an office or more than one choice in a ballot question.

   Target area:  The square opposite the candidate's name or ballot response on a paper ballot; the oval, incomplete line, or incomplete arrow opposite the candidate's name or ballot response on an optical scan ballot; or the perforated square opposite the candidate's name or ballot response on a punch card ballot.

   * Definitions of these terms are already included in the Election Code at 25 P. S. § 3031.1. However, they are refined here to reflect their specific use in the standards.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 03-1538. Filed for public inspection August 1, 2003, 9:00 a.m.]

No part of the information on this site may be reproduced for profit or sold for profit.

This material has been drawn directly from the official Pennsylvania Bulletin full text database. Due to the limitations of HTML or differences in display capabilities of different browsers, this version may differ slightly from the official printed version.