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Are You Registered to Vote?

You’ve probably heard but there’s a pretty big election this year. So today, on National Voter Registration Day, let’s make sure you’re registered or your registration is up to date!

But why is this important to me?

I know that I’ve heard this a lot. Some times followed by “but my vote won’t really matter anyway”. Well the answer is pretty simple. In 2016, Donald Trump won the State of Pennsylvania by only 44,292 votes of the more than 6,000,000 cast. That’s less than 1%. That’s pretty darn close. If you want to elect Joe Biden president or if you want to keep Trump, it’s going to come down to a very close margin and you and your friends could decide how Pennsylvania goes and that may even turn the entire election one way or the other.

Another reason this is important to you, presumably a member of the LGBTQ Community of Pittsburgh or Western Pennsylvania is that a survey by Hornet, another gay dating and hookup app, found that 45% of their users surveyed support Donald Trump over Joe Biden. Now, there are many issues with this poll (Hornet isn’t in the business of conducting polls, the sample size was 10,000 users but we aren’t sure if it was limited to U.S. residents only, who actually uses Hornet anyway, etc.) but the moral of this story is that this will be a close election even within the LGBTQ Community.

How do I know if I’m registered to vote?

You’re going to hear me mention this website a lot so maybe write it down. VotesPA.com. This is the official website setup by the State of Pennsylvania where you can find out the most accurate information about voting and your status as a registered voter. Sometimes there’s a lot of noise and there are a lot of organizations and resources that want to help but I feel end up just making things more confusing. VotesPA.com is THE site you need in Pennsylvania for voter information.

Use VotesPA.com to check your voter registration status.

If you find out that you aren’t registered or if you need to update your voter registration because you moved or because your name changed, you can do that too!

Where do I vote or should I vote by mail?

So this is a pretty big one. 2020 is the first year that Pennsylvania is offering vote by mail as an option to everyone. You no longer have to make up an excuse to vote absentee by mail. Now, there has been a lot of rumblings on both sides about vote by mail. I’m not here to fact check or give merit to either side’s arguments. This is going to come down to a personal choice.

Note for Allegheny County Voters:

The Allegheny County Board of Elections just approved the opening of satellite Election offices which will essentially act as early voting centers. You will be able to go to the office, fill out the vote by mail application, instantly receive you ballot, vote, and submit your ballot all in one location all at one time. We’ll keep you updated on where and when these locations open.

So now you know if your registered, how to register or update your info, and where to vote. There is no excuse not to vote now. Something I always told my dad during the decades he didn’t vote, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” Just remember that if you decide to skip this one.

QBurgh staff writer
QBurgh is your source for LGBTQ news and community resources in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Want to write for us?