Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 1874/Article 8

Article VIII: Suffrage and Elections

Section 1: Qualifications of voters.

Every male citizen twenty-one years of age, possessing the following qualifications, shall be entitled to vote at all elections:

First--He shall have been a citizen of the United States at least one month.

Second--He shall have resided in the State one year (or if, having previously been a qualified elector or native born citizen of the State, he shall have removed therefrom and returned, then six months) immediately preceding the election.

Third--He shall have resided in the election district where he shall offer to vote at least two months immediately preceding the election.

Fourth--If twenty-two years of age or upwards, he shall have paid within two years a State or county tax, which shall have been assessed at least two months and paid at least one month before the election.

Amendment of November 5, 1901

Amendment of November 7, 1933

Amendment of November 3, 1959

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 2: General elections.

The general election shall be held annually on the Tuesday next following the first Monday of November, but the General Assembly may be law fix a different day, two-thirds of all the members of each House consenting thereto.

Amendment of November 2, 1909

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 3: Municipal elections.

All elections for city, ward, borough and township officers, for regular terms of service, shall be held on the third Tuesday of February.

Amendment of November 2, 1909

Amendment of November 4, 1913

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 4: Elections to be by ballot and ballots numbered. Endorsements thereon authorized.

All elections by the citizens shall be by ballot. Every ballot voted shall be numbered in the order in which it shall be received, and the number recorded by the election officers on the list of voters, opposite the name of the elector who presents the ballot. Any elector may write his name upon his ticket or cause the same to be written thereon and attested by a citizen of the district. The election officers shall be sworn or affirmed not to disclose how any elector shall have voted unless required to do so as witnesses in a judicial proceeding.

Amendment of November 5, 1901

Section 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.

Section 6: Soldier voting.

Whenever any of the qualified electors of this Commonwealth shall be in actual military service, under a requisition from the President of the United States or by the authority of this Commonwealth, such electors may exercise the right of suffrage in all elections by the citizens, under such regulations as are or shall be prescribed by law, as fully as if they were present at their usual place of election.

Repealed. May 16, 1967

Section 7: Election laws to be uniform, but unregistered electors may vote.

All laws regulating the holding of elections by the citizens or for the registration of electors shall be uniform throughout the State, but no elector shall be deprived of the privilege of voting by reason of his name not being registered.

Amendment of November 5, 1901

Amendment of November 6, 1928

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 8: Corruption to disqualify voters. Challenge.

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 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.

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 9: Candidate guilty of bribery, &c., disqualified from office. Wilful violation of election laws to disqualify for voting.

Any person who shall, while a candidate for office, be guilty of bribery, fraud, or wilful violation of any election law, shall be forever disqualified from holding an office of trust or profit in this Commonwealth; and any person convicted of wilful violation of the election laws shall, in addition to any penalty provided by law, be deprived of the right of suffrage absolutely for a term of four years.

Repealed on May 16, 1967

Section 10: Witnesses not to withhold testimony in election cases.

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.

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 11: Election districts.

Townships, and wards of cities or boroughs, shall form or be divided into election districts of compact and contiguous territory, in such manner as the court of quarter sessions of the city or county in which the same are located may direct; but districts in cities of over one hundred thousand inhabitants shall be divided by the courts of quarter sessions, having jurisdiction therein, whenever at the next preceding election more than two hundred and fifty votes shall have been polled therein; and other election districts whenever the court of the proper county shall be of opinion that the convenience of the electors and the public interests will be promoted thereby.

Amendment of November 6, 1928

Amendment of November 2, 1943

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 12: Representatives to vote viva voce.

All elections by persons in a representative capacity shall be viva voce.

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 13: Residence of voters not gained or lost in certain cases.

For the purposes of voting no person shall be deemed to have gained a residence by reason of his presence, or lost it by reason of his absence, while employed in the service, either civil or military, of this State or of the United States, nor while engaged in the navigation of the waters of the State or the United States, or on the high seas, nor while a student of any institution of learning, nor while kept in any poor house or other asylum at public expense nor while confined in public prison.

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 14: Election boards. Clerks. Vacancies. Privileges of election officers.

District election boards shall consist of a judge and two inspectors, who shall be chosen annually by the citizens. 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.

Amendment of November 6, 1945

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 15: Government officers and employees disqualified to serve as election officers. Ineligibility of election officers.

No person 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 other municipal board, commission or trust in any city, save only justices of the peace and aldermen, notaries public and persons in the militia service of the State; 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.

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 16: Courts of common pleas may appoint overseers of elections. Overseers may decide questions of difference.

The courts of common pleas of the several counties of the Commonwealth shall have power within their respective jurisdictions, to appoint overseers of election to supervise the proceedings of election officers and to make report to the court as may be required; such appointments to be made for any district in a city or county upon petition of five citizens, lawful voters of such election district, setting forth that such appointment is a reasonable precaution to secure the purity and fairness of elections; overseers shall be two in number for an election district, shall be residents therein, and shall be persons qualified to serve upon election boards, and in each case members of different political parties; whenever the members of an election shall differ in opinion the overseers, if they agree thereon, shall decide the question of difference; in appointing overseers of election all the law judges of the proper court, able to act at the time, shall concur in the appointment made.

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 17: Trial of 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, 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.

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 18

Added by amendment of November 8, 1949

Amendment of November 3, 1953

Amendment of May 16, 1967

Section 19

Added by amendment of November 5, 1957

Amendment of May 16, 1967