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Voting Needs

Pennsylvania residents have many unique voting needs. Select from the list above what best describes your situation...

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Voting by Absentee Ballot

If you are unable to attend your polling place in person on Election Day, you may be eligible to vote by absentee ballot. To vote by absentee ballot, a voter must apply to the County Board of Elections for an absentee ballot. The County Board of Elections will send a paper absentee ballot to the voter. The voter then completes the ballot and returns it to the County Board of Elections.

In Pennsylvania, the County Board of Elections must receive your application for absentee ballot no later than 5 p.m. on the Tuesday before the election. In emergency situations (such as an unexpected illness or disability) you can submit an Emergency Application for Absentee Ballot, which must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day. Completed non-emergency absentee ballots must be received by 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day.

In presidential election years, absentee ballots received by the close of the polls on election day will be counted for the offices of president and vice president.

Make sure you’re registered before you apply to vote by absentee ballot. You can
confirm your registration here.

What I need to know about voting by Absentee Ballot due to the Voter ID Law

  • Identification requirements took effect in November 2012.
  • Voters must provide drivers license number, last 4 digits of Social Security Number, or a copy of an acceptable photo ID when applying for an absentee ballot.
  • Voters may provide identifying number to county over the phone, by email or mail.
  • Identification will be verified by the county board of elections before the voter's ballot will be counted.  Voters have 6 days following an election to provide the necessary identification.
  • UOCAVA voters and voters affected by the Voting Accessibility for Elderly and Handicapped Act are exempt.

Who may Vote by Absentee Ballot?

The following people may vote for any office in any election by absentee ballot as long as they are registered to vote (unless otherwise indicated):

  • A person who is or may be in the military service of the United States, regardless of whether at the time of voting the person is present in the election district of residence or in the Commonwealth and regardless of whether he or she is registered to vote.
  • A spouse or dependent residing with or accompanying a person in the military service of the United States and who expects on Election Day to be absent from his or her municipality of residence during the entire period in which the polling places are open for voting (7 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
  • A member of the Merchant Marine and his/her spouse and dependents residing with or accompanying the Merchant Marine, who expect on Election Day to be absent from the Commonwealth or the municipality of residence during the entire period in which the polling places are open for voting (7 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
  • A member of a religious or welfare group attached to and serving with the armed forces and his/her spouse and dependents residing with or accompanying him or her, who expect on Election Day to be absent from the Commonwealth or the municipality of residence during the entire period in which the polling places are open for voting (7 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
  • An individual who, because of the elector's duties, occupation or business (including leaves of absence for teaching, vacations and sabbatical leaves), expects on Election Day to be absent from his/her municipality of residence during the entire period the polls are open for voting and the spouse and dependents of such electors who are residing with or accompanying the elector and for that reason also expect to be absent from his/her municipality during the entire period the polls are open for voting (7 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
  • A qualified war veteran elector who is bedridden or hospitalized due to illness or physical disability if the elector is absent from the municipality of his residence and unable to attend his/her polling place because of such illness or disability, regardless of whether the elector is registered to vote.
  • A person who, because of illness or physical disability, is unable to attend his/her polling place or to operate a voting machine and obtain assistance by distinct and audible statements. (Note: A disabled elector may be placed on a permanently disabled absentee file.)
  • A spouse or dependent accompanying a person employed by the Commonwealth or the federal government, in the event that the employee's duties, occupation or business on Election Day require him/her to be absent from the Commonwealth or the municipality of residence during the entire period the polls are open for voting (7 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
  • A county employee who expects that his Election Day duties relating to the conduct of the election will prevent the employee from voting.
  • A person who will not attend a polling place on Election Day because of the observance of a religious holiday.

How to Request an Absentee Ballot

To obtain an absentee ballot application:

If you would like to designate another person to assist you in delivering a completed absentee or alternative ballot, print, complete and return the following forms to the County Board of Elections:

A qualified absentee voter may apply for an absentee ballot either through an application form or through letter. An application by letter or other document must be signed by the voter and must include the same information as required on forms provided by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The County Board of Elections must receive letter applications no later than 5 p.m. on the Tuesday before Election Day.

Except for military and civilian voters who make an emergency application for absentee ballot, an absentee ballot application must be completed, signed by the voter and received by the County Board of Elections no later than 5 p.m. on the Tuesday before Election Day.

Emergency Absentee Ballots

Emergency Absentee Ballot Applications are available at the county Board of Elections Office. If you have an emergency and did not apply for an absentee ballot by 5 p.m. on the Tuesday prior to Election Day, you may download and apply for an Emergency Absentee Ballot. This application must be notarized before it is submitted.


Emergency Absentee Ballot Application (PDF)

  • The County Board of Elections will process and approve only those Emergency Absentee Ballot Applications that have been completed and signed by the applicant elector before a notary public.
  • Emergency Absentee Ballot Applications must be submitted to the County Board of Elections between 5 p.m. on the Tuesday before Election Day and 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day.
  • How to obtain an Emergency Absentee Ballot if an emergency occurs after 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day:
    • If you become physically disabled or ill between 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day and 8 p.m. on Election Day or if you find out after 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day that you will be absent from your municipality of residence on Election Day because of your business, duties or occupation, you can receive an Emergency Absentee Ballot if you complete and file with the Court of Common Pleas in the county where you are registered to vote an emergency application or a letter or other signed document, which includes the same information as that provided on the emergency application.
  • How to obtain an Emergency Absentee Ballot if you are not able to appear in court:
    • If you are not able to appear in court to receive the ballot, you can designate, in writing, a representative to deliver the absentee ballot to you and return your completed absentee ballot to the County Board of Elections. If you are not able to appear in court or obtain assistance from an authorized representative, the judge will direct a deputy sheriff of the county to deliver the absentee ballot to you if you are at a physical location within the county.
  • Emergency Absentee Ballot Applications from voters who experience an emergency after 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day must be submitted to the Court of Common Pleas no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

To designate an authorized representative to deliver your Emergency Absentee Ballot, you must complete and sign the Authorized Representative Form and the authorized representative must complete and sign the Certification of Authorized Representative.

                

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