Friday, April 19

Deadline to apply for a mail ballot for primary is May 10

HARRISBURG — Acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman is urging Pennsylvanians planning to vote by mail ballot in the primary election to apply now, before the May 10 deadline, and return their mail ballot immediately to ensure their vote is counted.

“With just one week to go to the deadline, apply online today so your county board of elections can send your mail ballot in time for you to fill it out and return it by the Election Night deadline,” Chapman said. “Voters also have the convenient option of applying for a mail ballot in person at their county board of elections office, then completing the ballot while there. In one visit, voters can apply for and cast their mail ballot. That option is available until May 10.”

To date, more than 771,600 Pennsylvanians have applied for a mail-in ballot and more than 90,200 Pennsylvanians have applied for an absentee ballot to vote in the primary.

Whether completing the mail ballot at home or at their county board of elections office, voters should read all instructions carefully and follow these steps to ensure their ballot is counted:

  • Enclose the mail ballot in the inner security envelope marked “official election ballot” and seal it, being careful not to make any stray marks on the envelope.
  • Seal the inner security envelope in the pre-addressed outer envelope.
  • Sign and date the voter’s declaration on the outer envelope.

Voters should return their voted ballot to their county board of elections as soon as possible. They have two options:

  • Mail the ballot. Mailed ballots must be received by 8 p.m. May 17, Election Day. Mail ballots received after that time will not count, even if postmarked by 8 p.m. May 17.
  • Hand-deliver their ballot to their county elections office, officially designated satellite office or drop box site. Hand-delivered ballots must be received by 8 p.m. May 17.
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Voters may return only their own mail ballot unless the voter has a disability and designates someone in writing to return it for them using the designation form on the Department of State website, or the voter requires an emergency absentee ballot.

Voters who received an absentee or mail-in ballot may vote in person on Election Day if they bring their unvoted mail ballot and envelopes with them to be voided. After they surrender their ballot packet and sign a declaration, they can then vote a regular ballot. Voters who already voted and returned their mail ballot are not eligible to vote in person on Election Day.

Voters who requested a mail ballot and did not receive it or do not have it to surrender may vote by provisional ballot at their polling place. The provisional ballot will be reviewed by their county board of elections after Election Day to determine whether it will be counted.

“Choose whichever secure and accessible voting option you prefer – whether that’s by mail ballot, in person by mail ballot at your county elections office, or at the polls on Election Day – but let your voice be heard,” Chapman said. “And if you are voting by mail ballot, act quickly and complete and return your mail ballot now.”

Pennsylvania voters also have the option of voting at the polls on Election Day, provided they have not already voted by mail ballot. Polling places will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Only voters registered as Democrats or Republicans will select nominees in the primary to represent their party in the Nov. 8 general election. Key races include governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. senator, U.S. representative, state representatives, half of the state Senate districts, and Democratic and Republican State Committee members.

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However, all registered voters are able to vote on any local ballot questions, and all voters in the 5th Senatorial District in Philadelphia will be able to vote in a special election on the same day as the primary.

For more information on voting in Pennsylvania, visit, call the Department of State’s toll-free voter hotline at 1-877-868-3772 or follow along on social media with the hashtag #ReadyToVotePA.

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