Primary voting season is underway! The Pennsylvania primary is April 28, and to help you prepare for the primary election, the Commonwealth has created a voting guide with helpful tips and date reminders.
Are you registered to vote? If you don't know, you can check on the Pennsylvania Department of State's Find Voter Registration Status website. You can check your voter registration status by name, by Driver’s License Number, or by PennDOT ID number. This service will also provide the address of your polling location and, if you need it, directions to your polling location via Google Maps. This website is available in both English and Spanish.
If you need to register, or if you need to change your name, address, or party affiliation, you can do so online. You can also print and mail the voter registration form to your county voter registration office. The addresses to the county voter registration offices are listed on the form as well as online. The last day to register to vote in the primary is April 13. If you’re mailing a signed voter registration application, it must be received by April 13. Applications postmarked by the deadline are no longer accepted. If you need help filling out the form, check out the How to Use Online Voter Registration video.
Once you're registered to vote, it's time to think about the voting process. Polls open on April 28 at 7:00 AM and close at 8:00 PM for in-person voting. If you are in line to vote by 8:00 PM, you are eligible to vote. If you need to find your polling location, you can check Find Your Polling Place from the Pennsylvania Department of State. In-person voting systems may vary by county. Check out Voting System Demos to see a video demonstration of the voting system in your county.
Thanks to Pennsylvania Act 77 of 2019, Pennsylvania has expanded voting options to include mail-in ballots for Pennsylvania residents. To vote by mail, you must apply for a mail-in ballot. You do not need to provide a reason or excuse if you want to use a mail-in ballot. Your county voter registration office must receive your application for a mail-in ballot by 5:00 PM on the Tuesday before the election (April 21 for the primary). You can apply for a mail-in ballot online (the online application is only available for those with a valid Pennsylvania Driver's License or a PennDOT ID), by mail, or in person at your county voter registration office. The application has a box to check if you would like to receive a mail-in ballot application every year.
The deadline to return your voted mail-in ballot is 8:00 PM on April 28. Mail-in ballots must be returned to your county election office (which may not be the same as your local polling location). You can find your county election office on the Votes PA website. Check out Votes PA for more information about mail-in ballots.
Pennsylvania also offers absentee ballots for Pennsylvania residents who will be away from their municipality on election day. This can include college students who are not registered to vote at their school address, people whose work or vacation take them away from the municipality where they live, members of the military, people who may have a conflict due to the celebration of a religious holiday, and inmates who haven't been convicted of a felony. Those with a physical disability or illness that prevents them from going to the polling place are also eligible for an absentee ballot.
You must apply for an absentee ballot. Your county voter registration office must receive your application for a mail-in ballot by 5:00 PM on the Tuesday before the election (April 21 for the primary). You can apply for an absentee ballot online (the online application is only available for those with a valid Pennsylvania Driver's License or a PennDOT ID), by mail, or in person at your county voter registration office. If you have a permanent illness or permanent disability, the application includes instructions on how to request an annual absentee ballot.
The deadline to return your voted absentee ballot is 8:00 PM on April 28. Absentee ballots must be returned to your county election office (which may not be the same as your local polling location). You can find your county election office on the Votes PA website. Emergency absentee ballots may also be requested. For more information about absentee ballots and emergency absentee ballots, check out Votes PA.
Have more questions about voting this election season? Check out VotesPA.com.