Pennsylvania

Upcoming Elections

Last Updated: March 2022

Voting in Pennsylvania

Who Can Vote in the Primary

You MUST be registered in a political party to vote in that party’s primary.

  • If you are registering to vote for the first time, you can select your political party at the time you register
  • Additionally, you can change your political party at any time by selecting the box that says “Change of Party” on the voter registration form
  • To vote in the May 17, 2022 primary election, you must register in a political party by Monday, May 2, 2022

If you are not registered to a political party and therefore cannot vote as to the candidates for that party’s nomination, if there are general ballot questions on the ballot during the primary election on May 17, 2022, or other non-primary issues, you will be able to vote on those matters.

When You Can Vote In-Person

Election Day: Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Election Day, or until the last person in line at 8 PM has voted.

Voting by Mail-In or Absentee Ballot: Voters may vote mail-in or absentee ballots either in person at their county election board or other designated location or by mail from the date ballots are finalized and available.  The voter should check the voter’s county’s website or call the voter’s county to see if ballots are finalized and available.  

The deadline to apply for a ballot is one week before Election Day, by 5:00 p.m. (ET).  Ballots must be received by 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Election Day. 

Where You Can Vote

Polling locations often change and voters are required to go to their assigned polling place.  The voter should use the Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s polling place search tool to find the voter’s polling place.

Registering to Vote

Registration Deadlines

  • For registration deadlines, see How to Register below.

How to Check Your Registration: Voters can determine whether they are registered to vote at the following link: Am I Registered?.

You are eligible to vote in Pennsylvania if you:

  • Are a U.S citizen
  • Are a resident of Pennsylvania
  • Are at least 18 years old by Election Day
  • Live in the precinct where you vote for at least 30 days prior to the election

You are NOT eligible to vote in Pennsylvania if:

  • You are in prison or jail for a felony conviction.
  • You were disqualified from voting due to a court order

*Includes a halfway house or other alternative correctional facility

Restorative Requirements

  • If you have completed a felony prison sentence, even if you are still on parole or probation, then you are immediately eligible to register to vote.

How to register 

Pennsylvania Voter Registration Application

To register online, individuals can use this link (user can toggle back and forth between English and Spanish versions using the corresponding buttons in the blue header).

Individuals can access a PDF version of registration form here: English version / Spanish version) (application is also available in Chinese Simplified, Traditional Chinese, and Vietnamese).

Residency Requirements

To register to vote, an individual must be a U.S. citizen for at least 30 days, and a resident of Pennsylvania and of the election district where the individual wants to register for at least 30 days prior to the election.

Conditional Registration Procedures

Not applicable to Pennsylvania

Voting Early & by Mail-In or Absentee Ballot

If You Want to Vote Absentee, requests may be made:

  • In-Person
  • By Mail
  • Online

Absentee Ballots may be returned:

  • In-Person
  • By Mail

Link to Submit/Download an Absentee/Mail-In Ballot Request Form

To request an absentee / mail-in ballot, voters can use this link (user can toggle back and forth between English, Spanish, and Traditional Chinese versions using the drop down in red in the top right corner).

Individuals can access a PDF version of the application for mail-in ballot here (Spanish / Traditional Chinese); and the PDF version of the application for absentee ballot here (Spanish / Traditional Chinese). 

Where and When to Return Absentee/Mail-In Ballots

Voters may return their absentee/mail-in ballots by mail, at the county election board or other designated location in the voter’s county, or at a drop box if they are available in the voter’s county.

Not all counties have drop boxes.  Voters should check here to determine if their county has drop boxes and where they are located (select “Click for a List of all Ballot Return and Satellite Locations”).  Voters can also visit their county’s website

Voters may drop off their mail ballots in person at their county election board or other officially designated location until 8 p.m. (ET) on Election Day.  They can also be returned by mail, but ballots must be received by 8 p.m. (ET) on Election Day. They cannot return them to their assigned polling place for voting on Election Day.

Location and Other Information about Early Voting in Person by Mail-in Ballot

While Pennsylvania does not have traditional early in-person voting in a voting booth, voters may vote early by appearing in person at their county election board or other designated location and apply for and vote a mail-in ballot.  This means that the voter can request a mail-in or absentee ballot, fill in the voter’s choices, and return the completed ballot packet to the county election office or other designated location, all in one visit. 

For locations where voters can vote in person by mail in ballot  check
https://www.vote.pa.gov/voting-in-pa/pages/early-voting.aspx .

With this option, there is no need to use the mail at all, and the voter can cast a vote at the voter’s convenience. 

Voters can check their county’s website or call their county to find out if ballots are available.  

As is true with other mail-in ballots, the deadline to apply in person for a ballot is 7 days before the election, by 5 p.m. (ET).   Even if the voter received the mail-ballot in person, besides returning it at the same time they received it, they can drop it off at their county election board or other officially designated location until 8 p.m (ET) on Election Day or return it by mail, as long as it is received by the county election board, not just postmarked, by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

More information is available at Vote In Person by Mail Ballot Before Election Day (vote.pa.gov). 

Difference Between Vote By Mail and Absentee Voting

The key difference between mail-in and absentee ballots is that while any registered voter can apply for a mail-in ballot, only the following voters may vote by absentee ballot:

  • Members of the military, regardless of whether or not the individual is present in the voter’s municipality of residence on Election Day and regardless of whether the voter is registered or enrolled;
  • Spouses or dependents residing with or accompanying a person in military service who are absent and unable to go to their polling place on Election Day.
  • Members of the Merchant Marines, religious or welfare groups officially attached to and serving with the armed forces, spouses and dependents of such individuals, provided, however, the individual is absent from the voter’s municipality of resident on Election Day;
  • Voters and their spouses or dependents who are outside the territorial limits of the United States because of their duties occupation or business and will be absent from municipality on Election Day;
  • A voter who is ill or physically disabled;
  • A voter who expects to be away from the voter’s municipality of residence on Election Day from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. because the voter’s duties, occupation, or business requires the voter to be elsewhere; 
  • Spouses or dependents of voters who are employed by the Commonwealth or the Federal Government within the U.S. but who will be absent and unable to go to their polling place on Election Day.
  • A county employee who will be unable to attend the polls due to Election Day obligations;
  • A voter is unable to go to the polls on Election Day due to a religious holiday.

The Procedure to Vote by Mail and Absentee Voting

The procedure for vote by mail is the same for voting by absentee ballot.  There are three ways to apply to vote by mail-in or absentee ballot:

  • Online
  • In-Person
  • By mail – the voter can either:
    • Download and complete a paper mail-in or absentee ballot application (applications are also available in Spanish: mail-in / absentee), OR
    • If the voter does not have a printer, the voter can either:
      • Complete the online request form to have a paper application mailed to the voter;
      • Contact the voter’s county election board directly to request a paper application; or
      • Contact the Department of State to request an application by either calling 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or by emailing ra-voterreg@pa.gov
    • The voter should mail the completed mail-in ballot application to the voter’s county election office or the voter may bring the application to the county election office in person.

Voters must provide proof of identification on the application by listing a valid PA driver’s license number or PennDOT non-driver ID number if they have one.  If not, the voter must list the last four digits of their Social Security number.

If the voter does not have a valid PA driver’s license or PennDOT ID number or a Social Security number,  the voter will need to provide with the application a photocopy of one of the following that shows name, photo, and a current expiration date:

  • US passport
  • US military ID
  • Employee photo ID issued by Federal, PA, PA county, or PA municipal government 
  • Photo ID from accredited PA public or private institute for higher education
  • Photo ID from PA care facility including long-term care, assisted living and personal care homes

If the photocopy is not provided with the application, voters have until 6 days after the election to provide proof of identification. If they fail to do so, the ballot will not be counted.

Voters can check the status of their mail-in/absentee ballot application here.

More information is available at Voting by Mail-In or Absentee Ballot (vote.pa.gov).

Deadlines for Mail-In Voting

The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is the same as for an absentee ballot: it must be received by the voter’s county election office no later than 7 days before the election, by 5:00 p.m. (ET).

If the voter has an emergency (such as an unexpected illness or disability or last-minute absence from the voter’s municipality), the voter may submit an Emergency Absentee Ballot Application to the County Board of Elections between 5:00 p.m. (ET), 7 days before the election and 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Election Day. Given the short window between filing the application and when the ballot must be submitted, the voter may also want to consider authorizing a representative to pick up and/or drop off the voter’s ballot with the County Board of Elections.

If there is no emergency that prevented the voter from meeting the deadline, then the voter will have to vote in-person on Election Day.

The voter can either return the voter’s mail-in/absentee ballot by mail or can return the ballot to the voter’s County Election Office or other Designated Location in the voter’s county.  Ballots must be received by 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Election Day; postmarks do not count.

Completing Mail-In/Absentee Ballots (Including In-Person Voting By Mail In Ballot)

To complete the ballot, the voter must follow these steps, or the ballot will not be counted:

  • Read instructions and fill out the front and back of the ballot, using either blue or black ink.
  • Seal the ballot in the inner envelope that says “official election ballot.”
    • Be sure not to make any marks on the inner secrecy envelope.  The voter’s ballot MUST be enclosed and sealed in the inner secrecy envelope or it will not be counted.
  • Seal the inner envelope within the outer envelope.
  • Fill out the declaration on the outside of the outer envelope.
    • Sign and date the outer envelope – if the voter does not sign the declaration on the return envelope the ballot WILL NOT be counted.
  • Mail in the ballot, leaving enough time for it to be received by Election Day or deliver it in-person to the County Election Office or other Designated Location in the voter’s county by Election Day at 8:00 p.m. (ET).  The voted ballot cannot be returned to the voter’s polling place.
  • The ballot must be received by the deadline even if it is postmarked before Election Day.

Identification is not needed for submitting an absentee or mail-in ballot.

If the voter makes a mistake in completing the voter’s ballot, or if the ballot is lost or is incorrect, the voter can ask the voter’s county elections office to send the voter a new ballot and void the old one.  If the voter finds or receives the original ballot, the voter must make sure not to use it as it will not be counted once it’s been voided in the system.  If the voter received an incorrect ballot, the voter should not vote with it; the voter cannot return a ballot that does not belong to the voter. The voter should notify the county election office if they received an incorrect ballot.

Voters can check the status of the ballot here.

A voter who has received a mail-in ballot, but now wants to vote in-person on Election Day, should bring the ballot and the pre-addressed outer return envelope to the polling place, and the voter must have that ballot voided before the voter can vote in-person.  Best practice, however, to avoid confusion, is to bring the whole package (the ballot, the inner secrecy envelope, and the pre-addressed outer return envelope).  After the voter surrenders the voter’s ballot and envelope(s) and signs a declaration, the voter can then vote a regular ballot.  

If the voter is not able to provide the ballot and the return envelope that the voter received in the mail, the voter will only be permitted to vote on a provisional ballot, which is a paper ballot that is set aside and counted once it is clear the voter is eligible to vote. 
The County Board of Elections has seven days to determine the validity of a provisional ballot. The voter may check the status of the voter’s provisional ballot after seven days at check status of provisional ballot or calling 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).

Identification Requirements

Voter Registration

To register to vote in Pennsylvania you should provide one of the following:

  • Your Pennsylvania Driver’s License Number
  • Your Pennsylvania ID Number

If you do not have these IDs, you may provide:

  • Last Four Digits of your Social Security Number

If you do not have one of these forms of ID and need help getting ID, go to www.voteriders.org.

Voting In-Person

If you registered to vote in Pennsylvania, you may be required to present valid ID if you are voting for the first time or your registration is incomplete. You can use any ID from this list:

  • Valid Federal Issued ID
  • Valid ID Issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles, Transportation, Highway Safety, etc.
  • ID Issued by Commonwealth Agency
  • Valid Employee ID
  • Valid Pennsylvania Driver’s License
  • Valid Student ID
  • Valid Military ID
  • Valid US Passport
  • License to Carry Concealed Weapon or Firearm

If you do not have a photo ID, you can use a non-photo identification that includes your name and address from the following list:

  • Bank Statement
  • Pay Check
  • Government Check
  • License to Carry Concealed Weapon or Firearm
  • Voter Registration Card
  • Valid Federal issued ID
  • Valid Pennsylvania Issued ID
  • Utility Bill

A non-photo ID must contain your current address. If you do not have one of the Pennsylvania valid IDs and need help getting ID, go to www.voteriders.org.

What to Do/Who to Contact if a Voter Does Not Have One of the Required Documents

For Registering 

Although a voter must provide the voter’s PA Driver’s License or PennDOT ID number if they have it, or the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number if they have it, a voter can still register to vote if the voter does not have any of these numbers, as long as the voter provides the voter’s signature (either by uploading a digital image of the voter’s signature to submit online with the voter registration form, or by signing the voter registration application and returning it to the voter’s county registration office).

For Voting In-Person

If the voter is required to provide ID because it is the first time the voter is voting in the voter’s current election district and the voter does not have one of the required documents, the voter can only vote via provisional ballot and must, within 6 days of Election Day, provide proof of identification and/or an affirmation affirming that the voter is the same person who cast the provisional ballot (see “Provisional Ballot and Required ID” for more information about voting via provisional ballot).

Absentee or Mail-In Application 

If the voter does not provide ID information or a copy of an acceptable ID with the voter’s absentee or mail-in ballot application, the voter’s absentee or mail ballot will not be counted.  However, the following voters are exempt from these requirements and do not need to show ID:

  • Uniformed and overseas citizens;
  • Voters with a disability; and
  • Voters over 65 years old and affected by the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act

More information is available at https://www.vote.pa.gov/Voting-in-PA/Documents/DOS_Identification_for_absentee_voting.pdf

Identification for Absentee and Mail-in Ballots

To apply to vote by mail-in or absentee ballot (including early, in-person voting), a voter must provide one of the following ID numbers:

  • Current and valid PA driver’s license or PennDOT photo ID card OR,
  • If the voter does not have one of these documents, the last 4 digits of the voter’s Social Security number

If the voter does not have one of the above, the voter can provide a photocopy of one of the following that shows name, photo, and a current expiration date:

  • US passport
  • US military ID
  • Employee photo ID issued by Federal, PA, PA county, or PA municipal government 
  • Photo ID from accredited PA public or private institute for higher education
  • Photo ID from PA care facility including long-term care, assisted living and personal care homes

Uniformed and overseas citizens and voters who qualify under the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped ACT do not need to show ID.

When Voters Need ID to Vote

Pennsylvania voters only have to show identification if they are voting in the election district for the first time, which includes all first-time voters.

Any of the following forms of photo ID are acceptable:

  • Pennsylvania driver’s license;
  • PennDOT ID card;
  • ID issued by any Commonwealth 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 an identification document that includes their name and address.  These include:

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

Free ID for Voting Purposes

The state offers free IDs for individuals experiencing homelessness.  Individuals must apply in person at a PennDOT Driver License Center and certify on the application they are homeless as defined in Section 103 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.  

For identification and other requirements, consult the PA Homeless Photo Identification Card Fact Sheet.

Using Expired ID

The only time an unexpired ID is required is in the event a voter using a mail or absentee ballot does not provide their driver’s license number of last four digits of their social security number.

Certain forms of ID must be unexpired, including:

  • Pennsylvania driver’s license
  • PennDOT ID Card
  • US passport
  • US military ID
  • Employee photo ID issued by Federal, PA, PA county, or PA municipal government
  • Photo ID from accredited PA public or private institute for higher education
  • Photo ID from PA care facility including long-term care, assisted living and personal care homes

More information is available at voteriders.org and Identification for Mail Voting (vote.pa.gov).

Provisional Ballot and Required ID

A first-time voter who does not have proper ID can vote a provisional ballot.  However, the provisional ballot will not be counted unless the voter submits proof of identification and/or an affirmation affirming, under penalty of perjury, that the voter is the same individual who cast the provisional ballot, to the county election office within 6 days of Election Day, either in person, via email, or via fax.
The County Board of Elections has seven days to determine the validity of a provisional ballot. The voter may check the status of the voter’s provisional ballot after seven days at check status of provisional ballot or by calling 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).

If You Have Moved Within Your State

Moving Within the Same County and Between Counties

If the voter moved within 30 days before Election Day, the voter may vote at the polling place for the voter’s old address. When at the polling place:

  • The voter must tell the election official that the voter has moved.
  • The voter will then have to fill out a form to update the voter’s registration to reflect the new address.
  • The voter will then be permitted to vote at the old polling place.
  • The voter will be sent an updated registration card reflecting the new address.
  • For all subsequent elections, the voter must vote at the new polling place.

If the voter moves more than 30 days before Election Day, the voter should update the voter’s registration to reflect the voter’s new address.  The deadline to update voter registrations is 15 days before Election Day.

If the voter moves more than 30 days before Election Day but did not update the voter’s registration, the voter can vote at the polling place for the voter’s old address for one election.

  • If the voter moved within the same county, the voter must tell the election officials at the polling place of the voter’s new address.  They will update the registration and send the voter a new voter registration card.  
  • If the voter moved to a different county, the voter needs to fill out a form with the voter’s new address and the county where the voter moved.  After the election, the county election office for both the voter’s old and new addresses will update the voter’s registration.  The voter will receive a new voter registration card matching the voter’s new address.

More information is available at How to Update Your Registration (vote.pa.gov).

State-specific exceptions to voting eligibility for voters who have moved

If a voter moved to Pennsylvania from another state, the voter must be a resident of Pennsylvania and the election district for at least 30 days before the next election to be able to vote in Pennsylvania.
If a voter moves out of Pennsylvania to another state, the voter may need to register before the voter can vote in the new state.  The voter can cancel the voter’s registration in Pennsylvania by filling out a Voter Request to Cancel Registration form (English / Spanish) and mailing it to the election office for the county in which the voter used to live.

If You are in the Military or are an Overseas Voter

Voting Military

Service members and their dependents may register and request a ballot using the overseas voter registration/ballot request form (“FPCA”). You may include the following ID:

  • Pennsylvania ID Card
  • Last 4 Digits of your Social Security Number
  • Option to Indicate that you do not have the Requested ID

Voting Overseas

U.S. citizens living overseas may register and request a ballot using the overseas voter registration/ballot request form. You may include the following ID:

  • Option to Indicate that you do not have the Requested ID
  • Pennsylvania ID Card
  • Last 4 Digits of your Social Security Number

Military and Overseas Voting Processes by Mail

Military and other overseas citizens may use the standard procedure for absentee voting by mail, but there are also special provisions for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and merchant marine, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with family members of all these groups, and other citizens who reside outside the United States (together these groups are called UOCAVA voters).

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Registering to Vote

There are several ways a military or overseas voter can register to vote:

For voters who are military family members or overseas civilians, their voter registration must be received by 15 days before the election.  If the voter is an active uniformed-service voter or a veteran of a uniformed service who is bedridden or hospitalized due to illness or physical disability, the voter is not required to registered to vote prior to or simultaneous with the submission of a military-overseas ballot.

More information is available at Information for Military and Overseas Voters (vote.pa.gov) and FVAP.gov.

There are several ways by which a voter can request an absentee ballot:

  • Use any official absentee ballot application form to request an absentee ballot.  
  • Request that the state mail the voter a paper absentee ballot application.  Send an e-mail to ST-UOCAVAQues@pa.gov.
  • Complete and send a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) form to the voter’s County Election Office.  The United States Department of Defense distributes this form as Federal Form Number 76.  
  • Members of the military may send in a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot form to their County Election Office.  The United States Department of Defense distributes this form as Federal Form 186.

Only the voter or an adult member of the voter’s immediate family may submit the voter’s application for an absentee ballot.

More information is available at Information for Military and Overseas Voters (vote.pa.gov).

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

Members of the military and overseas civilian voters may receive their absentee ballot by email or mail.  To request the absentee ballot be sent by email, the voter can:

  • Mark the box that says e-mail preference in block 5 on the voter’s Federal Post Card Application Form (Federal Form Number 76)
  • Contact the voter’s local county election office by e-mail or phone
  • E-mail the state at stsvcuocavaabs@pa.gov to request that the state e-mail the voter an absentee ballot application.  The voter should send the e-mail from the account where the voter wants to receive the application.

The voter should look for an e-mail stating that the voter’s ballot is ready.  The voter can then visit www.pavoterservices.pa.gov to download the voter’s ballot.

Due to increased security measures, some users may have trouble accessing the online website.  If a voter experiences any issues when retrieving the voter’s ballots, the voter should call the Help Desk at 1-866-472-7873 or e-mail STSVCSURE_Helpdesk@pa.gov.

If the voter does not choose to receive an absentee ballot electronically, the voter will receive the ballot in the mail.

Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB)

The FWAB works like a backup ballot and should be used if there isn’t enough time to receive and send back an absentee ballot before the election.  If the voter’s official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, the voter should fill out the absentee ballot and send it in as well.  Only one ballot will be counted.  The FWAB must be mailed to the voter’s county election office.

A voter’s FWAB will be counted even if the voter’s completed official absentee ballot is not received by the seventh day after Election Day.

More information is available at Election Forms and Tools for Sending (FVAP.gov).

Uniformed service members, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens may use the FWAB to vote for all offices and ballot measures in an election.  

Uniformed Service members and their eligible family members can use the FWAB to register to vote and vote, all at the same time.  It can be used to vote in all federal, state, and local offices, including ballot measures.  If the voter is using the FWAB to register to vote, it must be received by 15 days before Election Day. 

Overseas citizens who have already requested an absentee ballot may use the FWAB to vote in all elections for federal, state, and local offices, including ballot measures.  If may not, they can only use the FWAB to vote in elections for federal office.
More information is available at the Pennsylvania specific page (FVAP.gov).

If You Have a Felony Convicion

Voting Eligibility for Individuals With a Criminal Record

An individual CANNOT vote for a period of four years after conviction of a willful violation of ANY provision of the Pennsylvania Election Code.

An individual CAN register and vote:

  • if the individual was previously convicted of a non-election code felony and either has been released, or will be released by Election Day, from a correctional facility or halfway house.  This must be upon completion of the term of incarceration for conviction.
  • if the individual was convicted of a non-election code misdemeanor.
  • If the individual is on probation or parole (even if living in a halfway house) or under house arrest (home confinement). 

If/When Someone Regains Eligibility

An individual who was previously convicted of a non-election code felony regains eligibility to vote when the individual is released from a correctional facility or halfway house.  This includes individuals who are probation or parole. There is no waiting period after release from prison.

Individuals convicted of willful violations of the Pennsylvania Election Code (both misdemeanor and felony convictions) regain eligibility after four years from the date of conviction.

Steps Needed to Regain Voting Rights

Upon release from a correctional facility/halfway house (if convicted of a felony) or upon the passage of four years (if convicted of any provision of the Pennsylvania Election Code), If you are already registered to vote, you do not need to do anything to regain your voting rights. If you are not registered or you need

to update your address, you must do so by Monday, October 24, 2022.More information is available at Criminal Status & Voting (vote.pa.gov).

Questions about voting in Pennsylvania?

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