Pennsylvania

Upcoming Elections

Oct. 18, 2021 – Voter Registration Deadline

The date to register for the November 2 election has passed.  Upcoming Election Deadlines.  A voter must register at least 15 days before an election.

Oct. 26, 2021 – Deadline to apply for Absentee or Mail-In Ballot

The deadline to apply for a regular absentee or mail-in ballot has passed for the November 2 election. 

Nov. 2, 2021 – Deadline for In-Person Return of Absentee or Mail-In Ballot

An absentee or mail-in ballot must be returned and received by the county board of elections by 8 p.m. on November 2, 2021. How To Return Your Absentee or Mail-in Ballot Link; see also Ballot Return Locations 

If you have an emergency and are unable to go to the polls at the last minute, you may submit an Emergency Absentee Ballot Application to the County Board of Elections between 5:00 p.m. on October 26 and 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.  Given the short window between the filing of the application and when the ballot must be submitted, you may want to designate another person to pick up and/or drop off your ballot with the County Board of Elections.  See Authorize Representative Form for Emergency Absentee Ballot

Nov. 2, 2021 – Deadline for receipt of Absentee or Mail-In Ballots to County Election Office

An absentee or mail-in ballot must be returned and received by the county board of elections by 8 p.m. on November 2, 2021. How To Return Your Absentee or Mail-in Ballot Link; see also Ballot Return Locations 

If you have an emergency and are unable to go to the polls at the last minute, you may submit an Emergency Absentee Ballot Application to the County Board of Elections between 5:00 p.m. on October 26 and 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.  Given the short window between the filing of the application and when the ballot must be submitted, you may want to designate another person to pick up and/or drop off your ballot with the County Board of Elections.  See Authorize Representative Form for Emergency Absentee Ballot

Last Updated: Oct 2021

Voting in Pennsylvania

When You Can Vote In-Person

Election Day

On November 2, polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  You can line up before 7:00 a.m., which voters often do to cast an early vote, and if you are in line by 8:00 p.m., you will be allowed to vote and are entitled to do so.  For more information, visit Voting at a Polling Place

Early in Person by Mail-in Ballot is over for the November 2, 2021 election.

Where You Can Vote

At Your Polling Place:  On the PA website, you can Find your polling place.

 

By Mail-in or Absentee Ballot:   If you have a mail-in or absentee ballot, which would have been applied for by October 26, 2021, you must return it to the County Board of Elections or designated location by 8 p.m. on Election Day. See Ballot Return Locations.  It must be received by 8 p.m.  This means if you are mailing it, it must have arrived by Election Day (not just be postmarked) and if you are dropping it off,  you should do so by the time the office or the other designated location closes. To confirm hours and availability check Ballot Return Locations.  Note, you cannot return an absentee or mail-in ballot at your polling place; it must be returned to the County Board of Election or its Designated Office or Dropbox.

Registering to Vote

Registration Deadlines: Voters must register 15 days prior to the Election Day.  The deadline for registering for the November 2, 2021 election has passed; however you can register now to be able to vote starting with the May 17, 2022 primary. If a voter registers online, the completed form must be submitted 15 days before Election Day. If a voter decides to send their registration in by mail, the application must have been actually received by their county election office 15 days before Election Day. If a voter registers in person, the deadline is 15 days before Election Day. Additional information can be found at Register to Vote

 

How to Check Your Registration

Visit the Pennsylvania voter registration page at Voter Registration Status  or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

 

Registration Eligibility

In order to register in Pennsylvania, a voter must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States at least 30 days before the election;
  • Be a resident of Pennsylvania, your county, and your election district for at least 30 days before the election;
  • Be at least 18 years old on or before Election Day 

For more information, see Voter Registration Requirements

 

Additionally, a voter cannot register to vote in Pennsylvania if the voter:

  • Is currently confined in a penal institution for conviction of a felony and will not be released from confinement until after the next election. This is true even if you are also incarcerated for one or more misdemeanor offenses.
  • Is in a halfway house or other alternative correctional facility on pre-release status for conviction of a felony and who will not get released until after the date of the next election.
  • Is convicted of violating any provision of the Pennsylvania Election Code within the last four years 

 

For more information, see Criminal Conviction Information.

 

 

How to Register: Pennsylvania residents may register online, in-person, or by mail.

 

On-Line

In order to register to vote online, it is easiest if the voter has either a Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDot ID, as without information from one of them, the voter may not be able to complete the application entirely online.  Voters can also register using the last 4 digits of their Social Security number and uploading a digital image of their signature online.  Applicants can apply to register on the registration page of the Pennsylvania Voter Information Website. Voter Registration Application  Note that the voter’s registration card will be sent to the address entered on that registration form. Additionally, the address on your driver’s license must match the address of your voter registration.

 

In-Person

Voters may register to vote in-person at their county’s board of voter registration or certain other government offices.  See How to Register to Vote

 

By Mail

In order to register by mail, voters must obtain a registration form by:

Downloading and printing a mail-in form from the Pennsylvania Voter Information Website. Printable Voter Registration Application  If a voter decides to send their registration in by mail, the application must have been actually received by their county election office 15 days before Election Day.  See Register to Vote Information 

Voting Early & by Mail-In or Absentee Ballot

Pennsylvania allows for early in-person voting by mail-in or absentee ballot, where the voter goes to the County Board of Election or its designated office, applies to vote by mail-in or absentee voting, and votes that ballot by filling it in and returning it in person to the County Board of Elections.  However, the time for voting in person by mail-in or absentee ballot has passed for the November 2, 2021 election.  

 

However, a voter who has applied for a mail-in ballot or an absentee ballot, can still vote that ballot.  They must return it, completed, to their County Board of Election or designated office or drop box, to be received by 8 p.m. on November 2, 2021, Election Day.

 

Importantly, voters who receive a mail-in ballot or absentee ballot and return their voted ballots by the deadline may not vote at their polling place on Election Day.  If a voter has requested a mail-in ballot or absentee ballot but has not voted it and sent it in yet, they can only vote in-person at their polling place if they surrender their mail-in or absentee ballot and the outer return envelope it was sent with to the judge of elections to be voided.  See Voting by Mail-in or Absentee Ballot

 

Who Can Vote by Mail-In Ballot

Any registered Pennsylvania voter that is not voting absentee can vote by mail-in ballot, if they apply by the deadline. The voter does not need to provide a reason or excuse in order to vote by mail.  See Voting by Mail-in or Absentee Ballot

 

Who Can Vote by Absentee Ballot

Registered voters who expect to be away from their home in Pennsylvania for the entire window of time that polling places are open on Election Day can vote by absentee ballot.  The following people may vote by absentee ballot if they are registered to vote:

  • A person with an illness or physical disability who is unable to go to the polling place or to operate a voting machine and obtain assistance by distinct and audible statement. 
  • A person who will not go to a polling place on Election Day because of the observance of a religious holiday.
  • A spouse or dependent residing with or accompanying a person in the military service of the United States. 
  • A member of the Merchant Marine and their spouse and dependents residing with or accompanying them.
  • A member of a religious or welfare group attached to and serving with the armed forces and their spouse and dependents residing with or accompanying them.
  • A spouse or dependent accompanying a person employed by the state of Pennsylvania or the federal government, whose duties, occupation or business on Election Day require them to be away from Pennsylvania or their municipality of residence.
  • An individual, and their spouse and dependents residing with or accompanying them, with duties, occupation or business (including leaves of absence for teaching, vacations and sabbatical leaves) away from their official residence on Election Day.
  • A county employee who expects that their Election Day duties relating to the conduct of the election will prevent them from voting.

 

Application Information for Mail-In or Absentee Ballots

 

This is the link to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot online: https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/OnlineAbsenteeApplication/#/OnlineAbsenteeBegin

 

Online Application:  To apply for either a mail-in or absentee ballot online, registered voters must provide their PA Driver’s License number or PennDOT ID number.  Voters who do not have a PA Driver’s License or PennDOT ID number can complete a paper absentee ballot application, which allows them to provide the last four digits of their social security number instead.  Voters who do not have any of the above may enclose a photocopy of an acceptable ID .

 

In-Person Application: A voter may also apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot in person at the voter’s county election office or at a satellite election office if the county has designated satellite offices.  

 

Application by Mail:  

 

If you want to submit your application by mail,  you can download an English language application for a mail in or absentee ballot here:  https://www.vote.pa.gov/Register-to-Vote/Documents/PADOS_MailInApplication.pdf

 

Spanish language here: https://www.vote.pa.gov/Register-to-Vote/Documents/PADOS_MailInApplication_Spanish.pdf

 

Completing a Mail-In or Absentee Ballot

 

A voter must complete the ballot in either blue or black ink. Once completed, the voter must place it in the white inner secrecy envelope labeled “official ballot” before submitting it.  No cross-outs are allowed. The voter must then seal the inner secrecy envelope and put it into the pre-addressed outer return envelope which they must sign, date and seal. See  How to fill out your mail-in or absentee ballot

 

Voters who do not seal and put their ballots in the inner secrecy envelope or who do not sign the declaration will not have their vote counted 

 

Submission & Deadlines 

 

A voter can return their mail-in or absentee ballot by mailing it to the voter’s county board of elections, by dropping it off in person at the board of election’s office, or by returning it to a certified ballot drop box or satellite elections office.  The county board of elections must receive a voted mail-in or absentee ballot by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day in order for it to be counted.   Where to Return the Ballot

 

Generally, you must deliver your ballot yourself.  If you are physically unable to deliver your ballot yourself, you may fill out a “Certification of Designated Agent” form, which allows the voter to designate a representative, in writing, to deliver the ballot to and/or from the voter. This form is available here:  Designated Agent Form

 

If the voter is sending the completed mail-in or absentee ballot by mail, it must be RECEIVED by the county board of elections by 8:00 p.m. ET on November 2, 2021. Otherwise, it can be delivered to the County Board of Elections or dropped off at a county’s drop box or satellite office, if available. 

Where to Return the Ballot

Identification Requirements

Pennsylvania voters are usually not required to show identification at the polling place.  Voters must show identification only if they are voting for the first time or if they have not previously voted in their current election district.  Any of the following forms of photo ID are acceptable:

  • Pennsylvania driver’s license; 
  • PennDOT ID card;
  • ID issued by any Pennsylvania agency;
  • ID issued by the U.S. Government;
  • U.S. Passport;
  • U.S. Armed Forces ID;
  • Student ID; or
  • Employee ID.

 

If voters do not have a photo ID, they can also present a document that includes their name and address.  These include: 

  • Registration confirmation issued by the County Voter Registration Office; 
  • Current utility bill;
  • Current bank statement;
  • Current paycheck; 
  • Government check;
  • Non-photo ID issued by Pennsylvania;
  • Non-photo ID issued by the U.S. Government; or
  • Firearm permit

 

See: Voter ID for First Time Voters

If a first-time voter does not have an acceptable form of ID with them at the polling location, they can vote a provisional ballot. The voter must present a form of ID to the county election office within 6 days of the election for the ballot to be counted.  You may bring the ID or send it via email or fax.

If You Have Moved Within Your State

If you moved within the state less than 30 days before an election, you must vote at your former residence’s polling location.  When you arrive to vote, tell the local Election Official of your change of address so that you can vote correctly at your new address in the future.

 

If you move at least 30 days before an election, you should change your voter registration address by submitting a new voter registration form—either online or by mail. Simply select the option for “Change of Address.”  Note that in order to vote at your new precinct’s polling place, this registration form must be submitted by the voter registration deadline, which was October 18, 2021, for the upcoming municipal election. If you missed the deadline and moved within the state, you must vote at the polling place of your old residence where you are registered to vote.  

 

Whenever you move before an election, you may only vote once at your original polling place after you move, and when you do so, you must abide by special procedures called “fail-safe voting.”  These procedures include:

  1. Inform the Election Officials at the polling place that you have moved and would like to change your registration by filling out an affirmation that states your new address;
  2. You will be permitted to vote at the old polling place based on your previous residence, but the county will update its records after the election to reflect your new address;
  3. You will receive a new voter certification card in the mail that will show your new address and polling place; and
  4. You will not be able to vote again at your old polling place.

 

See How to Update Your Registration 

 

Have questions or need more information? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)!

If You are in the Military or are an Overseas Voter

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Overseas and military voters (and their dependents) who will be absent from their voting residence on Election Day may register and request an absentee ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) (https://www.fvap.gov/guide/chapter1).  For step-by-step assistance and forms, visit the Pennsylvania page of the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at: https://www.fvap.gov/pennsylvania  

 

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters may request an absentee ballot by completing the Federal Post Card Application. This application can be filled out online at the Pennsylvania page of the Federal Voting Assistance Program website or an application can be downloaded from the website and brought to the voter’s local election office (https://www.fvap.gov/guide/chapter2/pennsylvania). 

 

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is a back-up ballot that can be used by UOCAVA voters who do not receive their regular ballots on time.  Military voters can use this FWAB whether they are located inside or outside the United States (including APO and FPO addresses), provided that they are away from their voting residence for service-related activities.  To request a FWAB, complete the form online at the Pennsylvania page of the Federal Voting Assistance Program website, or a form can be downloaded from the website and brought to the voter’s local election office (https://www.fvap.gov/guide/chapter2/pennsylvania).

 

Deadlines

A FWAB ballot for the upcoming election must be signed by November 1, 2021 and received by 5:00 p.m. ET on the 7th day after the election,  November 9,2021 (https://www.vote.pa.gov/About-Elections/Pages/Upcoming-Elections.aspx).

If You Have a Felony Convicion

You are eligible to register to vote or vote UNLESS you: 

  • Are currently confined in a penal institution for conviction of a felony (even if you are also incarcerated for one or more misdemeanor offenses) and will not be released from confinement before the next election; 
  • Are in a community confinement facility or other alternative correctional facility for conviction of a felony and will not be released before the date of the next election; or,
  • Were convicted of violating any provision of the Pennsylvania Election Code within the last four years. 

If you do not fall into one of these categories, and if you were previously registered to vote, you should confirm that you are still registered at the correct address, and re-register if necessary before the registration deadline.  If you were not previously registered to vote, register to vote before the registration deadline Information for People Convicted of a Felony 

For more information, visit: Community Reentry- Voting rights

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