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Voting by mail-in or absentee ballot is safe, secure, and easy.

 

IMPORTANT: Voters who have not yet cast their mail or absentee ballot are urged to hand-deliver their voted ballots as soon as possible to their county election office or other county drop off location or drop box. Ballots must be delivered by 8pm on Election Day but the sooner the better. Voters should no longer use postal service delivery as it is too late to guarantee your ballot will be delivered in time.

SOME DROP BOXES AND SATELLITE COUNTY ELECTION OFFICES CLOSE BEFORE 8PM ON ELECTION DAY. PLEASE CHECK THE HOURS OF YOUR COUNTY ELECTION OFFICE, DROP BOX, OR DROP OFF LOCATION.


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Deadlines for the November 3 General Election

  • October 27 at 5 pm - APPLICATIONS for a mail-in or absentee ballot must have been received by your county election board or other designated locations
  • November 3 - Deadline for returning your voted mail-in or absentee ballot. 
    • IMPORTANTVoters who have not yet cast their mail or absentee ballot are urged to hand-deliver their voted ballots as soon as possible to their county election office or other county drop off location or drop box. Ballots must be delivered by 8pm on Election Day but the sooner the better.  Voters should no longer use postal service delivery as it is too late to guarantee your ballot will be delivered in time. 
  • Learn more about upcoming deadlines

Missed the deadline? If you have an emergency (such as an unexpected illness or disability and last-minute absence) you may still be able to get a ballot after the deadline. Find information about how to get an emergency absentee ballot at the end of this page. 



How do I request a mail-in or absentee ballot?

All registered voters may request a mail-in ballot for any or no reason. Absentee ballots should be requested by voters with disabilities, an illness, or who will be absent from their municipality on election day. Request forms must have been received by your county election board or other designated location by 5 pm on October 27, 2020.

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Third Party Ballot Delivery for Mail Voting

If you have a disability that prevents you from applying in person for your mail ballot or delivering your mail ballot, you may designate an agent to deliver your ballot materials for you. You must designate the agent in writing using this form or a form provided by your county.


Accessible Remote Ballot Marking Solution for mail voting

The Department of State is committed to increasing accessibility for voters with disabilities. Pennsylvania voters with disabilities now have the opportunity to mark their absentee or mail-in ballot electronically. Learn more about the accessible remote ballot marking solution.




How do I vote and return my mail-in or absentee ballot?

 
 

Below are general steps on how to vote, prepare, and return your mail ballot. Be sure to follow the instructions included with your ballot. Contact your county election office if you have any questions.

Under Pennsylvania law, voters must return their own ballots. The only exceptions to this are for voters with a disability who have designated someone in writing to deliver their ballot.

SOME DROP BOXES AND SATELLITE COUNTY ELECTION OFFICES CLOSE BEFORE 8PM ON ELECTION DAY. PLEASE CHECK THE HOURS OF YOUR COUNTY ELECTION OFFICE, DROP BOX, OR DROP OFF LOCATION.

Step 1:

ballot icon

Read the instructions carefully and mark your ballot. Be sure to complete the front and back of each page.

Step 2:

ballot being sealed in secrecy envelope

Seal your ballot in the white inner secrecy envelope that indicates official ballot. Do not place any marks on the white inner secrecy envelope.

Your ballot must be enclosed in the white inner secrecy envelope to be counted.

Step 3:

seal the secrecy envelope into the return envelope

Seal the inner secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed outer return envelope. Complete, sign and date the voter’s declaration on the outside of the outer return envelope. 

If you do not sign the outer return envelope, your ballot will not be counted.

Step 4:

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You should then return your voted ballot to the county board of elections. The deadline to return absentee and mail-in ballots is by 8 p.m. on election day, but the sooner the better.

SOME DROP BOXES AND SATELLITE COUNTY ELECTION OFFICES CLOSE BEFORE 8PM ON ELECTION DAY. PLEASE CHECK THE HOURS OF YOUR COUNTY ELECTION OFFICE, DROP BOX, OR DROP OFF LOCATION.

  1. IMPORTANT:  Voters who have not yet cast their mail or absentee ballot are urged to hand-deliver their voted ballots as soon as possible to their county election office or other county drop off location or drop box. Ballots must be delivered by 8pm on Election Day but the sooner the better.  Voters should no longer use postal service delivery as it is too late to guarantee your ballot will be delivered in time. 
  2. You can hand-deliver your ballot before 8 pm on election day (November 3) to your: 


Where do I return my ballot?

Find your county mail ballot return or early voting locations

What are Drop Boxes and Dropoff Sites

Drop boxes are a safe and secure way for Pennsylvania voters to return their voted mail-in or absentee ballots. Voters may return their mail-in or absentee ballot at their county election board's designated drop box(es) or dropoff location before 8 p.m. on election day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

Services available at a drop box or dropoff location:

  • Return only your own voted ballot

NOTE: Voted ballots may also be returned at your county election office or satellite election office. The list of drop box locations will be updated as more information becomes available.


What are Satellite County Election Offices

Some county election boards have opened satellite offices to offer county residents added convenience. These satellite locations may be open additional hours, including weeknights and weekends. Each satellite location has a secure ballot receptacle to store voted mail-in and absentee ballots submitted at the location. 

Services available at a County Election Office or Satellite County Election Office:

  • Ballot return
  • Ballot replacement services (damaged ballots, ballots not received)
  • Emergency ballot services

The list of satellite locations designated by the county election board will be updated as information is made available.


How do I track my ballot?

PA voters can see the status of their mail-in or absentee ballot online. Track your ballot's progress from when your county receives your request, to when they receive your voted ballot.

Due to the volume of mail-in ballots expected during the 2020 General Election, it may take a few days for the system to be updated. 

Track the Status of Your Mail-in or Absentee Ballot

animated step 1 thru 4 of the tracker


Identification for Mail Voting

In order to apply for an absentee or mail-in ballot, you must supply proof of identification. Uniformed and overseas citizens and voters who qualify under the voting accessibility for the elderly and handicapped act do not need to show ID. All other voters must use one of the following options.

Option 1 

Include one of these ID numbers on your absentee or mail-in ballot form: 

  • Current and valid Pennsylvania driver's license 
  • PennDOT photo ID card 

Option 2 

If you don't have one the documents listed under option 1, you can include the last 4 digits of your social security number on your absentee or mail-in ballot form. 

Option 3 

If you don't have one of the documents listed under option 1 or a social security number, you can provide a photocopy of one of the following IDs with your absentee or mail-in ballot application. The photocopy must show name, a photo, and an expiration date that is current. 

  • U.S. Passport 
  • U.S. Military ID (active duty and retired military ID may designate an expiration date that is indefinite). Military dependents' ID must contain a current expiration date. 
  • Employee photo identification issued by Federal, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania County, or Pennsylvania Municipal government. 
  • Photo identification issued by an accredited Pennsylvania public or private institution of higher learning. 
  • Photo identification issued by a Pennsylvania care facility, including long-term care facilities, assisted living residences and personal care homes. 



Frequently Asked Questions

What if I requested a mail-in or absentee ballot but I didn't receive a ballot, lost my ballot, or changed my mind and want to vote in-person?

  • If you already submitted a mail-in or absentee ballot, you cannot vote at your polling place on election day.
  • If you did not return your mail-in or absentee ballot and you want to vote in person, you have two options:
    1. Bring your ballot and the pre-addressed outer return envelope to your polling place to be voided. After you surrender your ballot and envelope and sign a declaration, you can then vote a regular ballot.
    2. If you don't surrender your ballot and return envelope, you can only vote by provisional ballot at your polling place. Your county board of elections will then verify that you did not vote by mail before counting your provisional ballot.

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What if I miss the application deadline?

Last Minute Emergencies

In emergency situations (such as an unexpected illness or disability and last-minute absence) following the deadline at 5 p.m. on the Tuesday before the election, you can request an Emergency Absentee Ballot.

The deadline to submit your Emergency Absentee Ballot Application to the County Election Board is 8:00 pm on election day.