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Information for College Students

As a college student who attends college in PA, you may register to vote where you live while attending college in PA.

You have the right to register and vote where you live while attending college in Pennsylvania. You can use either an on-campus or off-campus address.

You may choose to register and vote at your prior home address. 

If you are studying abroad, the Federal Voting Assistance Program guides you through the process to vote if you will be out of the country on Election Day. 

Whatever you choose, you have to register to vote at least 15 days before the electionStart by reviewing the Pennsylvania voter registration requirements.

How do I vote by Absentee Ballot?

As a student, absent from your voting municipality on election day, you can vote using an absentee ballot that you get by mail.

First, you must request to vote with an absentee ballot

When you get the ballot in the mail, mark it and return it to your County Election Office or other designated location before the deadline. 

How do I vote by Mail-in Ballot?

Any qualified voter may apply for a mail-in ballotYou may simply request this ballot without a reason. Learn more about mail-in ballots.

What do I need to know about voting at a Polling Place?

If you are a new voter in Pennsylvania, or registering for the first time at a new address, we have information to help you get ready to vote:

Frequently Asked Questions

Every situation is different, and each determination depends on specific facts, however, here are some general guidelines:

  • College students must initially meet the statutory and constitutional requirements for voting – age, citizenship and 30-day residency in the election district.
  • An out-of-state student who has never resided in Pennsylvania would not be eligible to vote in Pennsylvania.
  • A freshman or a new student who has never been present at the college or university would not be able to meet the initial registration threshold requiring 30-day residence.  If, however, the new student moved to the town or city early enough in the summer, they may be able to qualify, even if they subsequently departed the election district because of school requirements.
  • If an already registered student voter is subsequently displaced from the college voting district, the displacement must be a temporary absence, with the student intending to return.  Factors such as the intention of the student, his or her previous actions that qualified them for residence in the college voting district, and the student’s continued study through that college or university will be relevant. 
  • An already existing student who established residence in the college-related election district, and who is now temporarily residing at the residence of another not in the college election district, would likely be able to maintain college election-district residence, even if the student was not present in the university election district at the time of the election.  Again, the same factors mentioned above would be relevant.
  • Actions such as voting in another jurisdiction or registering to vote in another jurisdiction will cause a student to forfeit the college voting district.
  • Both absentee and mail-in ballots can be challenged on the basis that the voter is not a qualified elector.  Students should exercise caution in questionable situations as their ballot could be challenged and set aside.
  • Fail-safe in person voting is available at the voter’s old polling place on a one-time basis for moves within the county and for moves between counties.  The voter must inform the judge of elections of the change of address.