Vote from the Comfort and Safety of Your Living Room
Voting by mail without having to provide a reason is not new to voters in some other states. However, it is new to Pennsylvanians. Governor Wolf signed Act 77 into law on October 31, 2019, a voting reform law that includes mail-in voting.
This powerful way to vote has come under attack for two reasons: (1) It's convenient, and (2) You get to vote early. Now, doesn't that sound like a winning combination?
Mail-in Voting Step-by-Step
Deadlines: There are hard deadlines for each step in mail-in voting. Check the Philadelphia City Commissioners Office website to verify dates.
Step One - You Need to Be Registered to Vote
Already registered? Skip this step if you don't want to make changes. Not sure? Check your registration status.
Tight Deadline—In the online system or in their hands: Monday, October 19th, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Your application must be electronically filed or delivered to the county by the deadline. Postmarks do not count.
Good News!! Folks with a valid PA Driver's License or PennDOT ID can register and apply for a mail-in ballot at the same time. Answer 'Yes' to question 15 - Mail-in Ballot.
Register to Vote
You may apply online using a valid PA driver's license, PA PennDOT ID (non-driver's license), or the last four digits of your social security number.
Step 2 - Apply
- Who can Apply?
- Any qualified voter can apply, except active military and overseas citizens. No voter will have their vote challenged for choosing the easier mail-in option. (Act 12, Passed March 27th, 2020). People who fall into the traveler (includes college students), sick, or disabled categories can answer 'No' to these questions in the online application. See our FAQ page for more details.
- Warning - Sooner is better than later: Pennsylvania counties will begin to mail ballots in September. If you apply a few weeks before the election, you risk your ballot not arriving in time for you to mail it back.
- Mail-in Provides a No-worry Voting Option.
- Don't worry. You can change your mind and vote on the machine at the poll. See our FAQ page for details
- You're Covered for Other Elections.
- Annual Mail-in Ballot Request: If you answer 'Yes' "to receive ballots for the remainder of the year and automatically receive an annual application," you do not have to reapply for any election that takes place until February 15th, 2021. You will also be sent a renewal application.
- If you voted by mail in June, you might not have to reapply. Check to see if your ballot status.
Check out our FAQ page for more details about mail-in voting.
Tight Deadline—In the online system or in their hands: Tuesday, October 27th, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. Your application must be electronically filed or delivered to the county by the deadline. Postmarks do not count.
Step Three - Mark Your Ballot
You will need to mark your candidate selections with a black or dark blue pen after you receive your ballot from the county. Tip: Test your pen before you mark up your ballot.
Keep your ballot clean. Only fill in the ovals. Don't place any other marks or make notes on your ballot.
Check out our Offices & Ballot Questions page to learn what's on the ballot, so you can decide your choices before your ballot arrives.
Step Four - MAIL IT BACK - Sooner than Later
Postal Delays May Impact Your Ballot Being Counted:
Deliver in person by Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, at 8:00 p.m
Postmarked by Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, delivered to the office by Friday, November 6th
Take those steps to avoid your ballot being questioned.
- Place the ballot in the secrecy envelope. Keep your security envelope clean. Do not write on it!!!!
- Then, place that envelope into the postage-paid envelope. Keep the postage envelope clean. Only fill out the following sections.
- Sign and date the postage-paid envelope next to the 'X' in the Declaration section.
- If you're sick and disabled and someone else filled out your ballot, they must sign and date the envelope under the assistance section.
If you change your mind about mailing the ballot or mailed your ballot very close Election Day, take a look at our FAQ page for more details.
- If you choose to mail your ballot, allow several weeks between when the ballot is due and when you send it. (Suggested date: October 20th, 2020.)
- You may want to go to your local post office and ask the clerk to "hand cancel" your mailing envelope. This step ensures that the postmark is on the envelope.
- You may also drop your ballot off at an Early Voting Site.
Check the Status of Your Application
You may use your name and birthdate to check on the progress of your application and ballot throughout the entire voting process.
If you mail your ballot too close to the Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, 8 p.m. deadline, you may want to check the Election Ballot Status page on at the end of May up to Election Day morning to determine if you need to prepare to vote in person.
Track Your Ballot
Type in your name and birthdate to check your ballot's progress.
We Checked the Facts
You will need to mark your candidate selections after you receive your ballot from the county. Check out our Offices and Ballot Question page to learn about which offices will be up for election. Also, download your local ballot to familiarize yourself with the candidates in your district.
No Printer? No Problem.
Online applications for registrations or ballots are faster. Sometimes you may need to download the forms. If you don't have a printer, call your county elections office and ask them to mail a form(s). More than likely, you will get voicemail. Make sure you do the following: spell your name and your mailing address' street name. Repeat your telephone number twice, so they can reach you if they have questions.