Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar today reminded Pennsylvanians that they have one week left to apply to vote by mail or to vote early in-person by mail ballot at their county election office.
The deadline to apply for a mail ballot or to vote in-person early at a county election office is 5 p.m. Tuesday, October 27, but voters should not wait and should apply as soon as possible. Voters may apply for a mail ballot online or via paper application. Once the ballot is received, voters must complete and return their mail or absentee ballot to their county election office or other designated location, such as a secure drop box, by 8 p.m. election day, Tuesday, November 3.
The deadline of October 27 also applies to voters who wish to vote early in person at their county election office or designated satellite location. They can, all in one visit, apply for a mail ballot, wait while an election official verifies their eligibility, and then vote and cast their ballot, so long as they do so on or before October 27.
"The election is rapidly approaching, so I urge all eligible Pennsylvania voters who want to vote early in person or by mail to apply today," said Secretary Boockvar. "Voters have two options for casting their ballots before election day. They can either apply for and complete their mail ballot from the comfort of their home, or they can go in person to their county election office and apply for, vote and return their ballot all in one trip."
Voters wishing to vote by mail should apply for their ballot immediately so they will have time to return it before the deadline. Once their application is verified, their county election office will mail them a ballot.
As soon as the voter receives the ballot, the voter should:
- Read the instructions carefully.
- Fill out the ballot, being sure to follow instructions on how to mark selections.
- Seal the ballot in the white inner secrecy envelope that indicates "official ballot." Make sure not to make any stray marks on the envelope.
- Then seal the inner secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed outer return envelope which the voter must sign.
- Complete and sign the voter's declaration on the outside of the outer return envelope.
- For the ballot to be counted, it must be enclosed in both envelopes and the voter must sign the outer envelope.
The voter should then return their voted ballot to their county board of elections as soon as possible.
- Voters can hand-deliver their ballot to their county election office or other officially designated site. Hand-delivered ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on election day. Some counties are providing drop-boxes or drop-off sites for mail ballots. Check your county's website for information on locations. The Department of State has posted a list of drop-off locations and is adding information as it becomes available. Or
- Voters can mail their ballot but if they are doing so should put it in the mail as soon as possible to ensure receipt. Mailed ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by the county election office by 5 p.m. Nov. 6. The Department of State is providing pre-paid postage on mail ballot return envelopes.
Voters can find out information about the status of their ballot by contacting their county election office or checking online the status of their mail ballot at votesPA.com.
Pennsylvania voters also have the option of voting in person on election day at the polls, which will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., provided they have not already voted by mail ballot. They should wear a mask, bring their own blue- or black-ink pen and follow social distancing guidelines.
The Department of State is supplying counties with masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, floor marking tape and other supplies for polling places so Pennsylvanians can safely exercise their right to vote during this COVID-19 emergency.
On Nov. 3, Pennsylvania voters will elect the President and Vice President of the United States; U.S. representatives; the State Attorney General, Auditor General and Treasurer; State Representatives; and State Senators in odd-numbered districts.
"Pennsylvanians have more secure and accessible options in how they cast their ballot than ever before," said Secretary Boockvar. "Whichever method you choose, the important thing is that you cast your ballot and let your voice be heard."
For more information on voter registration, voting and elections call the Department of State's toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit votesPA.com.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621