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Voting by Absentee or Mail-in Ballot

On March 27, Governor Wolf signed Senate Bill 422, which reschedules Pennsylvania’s primary election from April 28 to June 2 due to the COVID-19 emergency. Voters have the option to vote by mail-in ballot rather than going to their polling place on election day. Mail-in ballot applications will be accepted through Tuesday, May 26, 2020. If a voter has already applied for an absentee or mail-in ballot, they do NOT need to reapply.


What are mail ballots?

In Pennsylvania, you now have two options for mail ballots. You may either choose a mail-in ballot or an absentee ballot to request, complete, and return to your county election office.

  • Absentee ballot – If you plan to be out of the municipality on election day or if you have a disability or illness, you should request this ballot type, which still requires you to list a reason for your ballot.
  • Mail-in ballot – If you aren’t an absentee voter, you may apply for a mail-in ballot. You may simply request this ballot without a reason.

In order to request either ballot type, you must be registered to vote. Please visit Check Your Registration Status to review your registration information


Which ballot should I use?

Absentee Ballot

Who may apply for an absentee ballot application?

  • College students who are not registered to vote at their school address
  • People whose work or vacation take them away from the municipality where they live
  • Those with a physical disability or illness that prevents them from going to the polling place
  • Members of the military
  • People who may have a conflict due to the celebration of a religious holiday
  • Inmates who haven't been convicted of a felony
  • To vote by absentee ballot you must be registered to vote.

More about Absentee Ballots

Mail-in Ballot

Who may apply for a mail-in ballot application?

You may apply for a Mail-in Ballot if you do not qualify for an Absentee Ballot. You must be registered to vote in order to vote by mail-in ballot.

More about Mail-in Ballots



Voting by Mail-in Ballot

Mail-in ballot applications for the June 2, 2020, primary election must be received by your county election office by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.


How do I apply for a mail-in ballot?

Option 1: Apply for a Mail-in Ballot Online

computer with text reading Register

Apply Online at VotesPA.com/ApplyMailBallot

Registered voters can apply for a mail-in ballot online with a valid PA driver's license or photo I.D. from the PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

Military and overseas voters should visit the information for military and overseas voters web page for information on how they can obtain an absentee ballot.

Apply for a mail-in ballot

Option 2: Apply for a Mail-in Ballot by mail

paper and pencil

Step 1: Complete a paper mail-in ballot application:

Download and print a mail-in ballot application:

Fill in the paper mail-in ballot application.


envelope with a piece of paper sticking out and a checkmark

Step 2: Mail your application:

Send your mail-in ballot application to the county election office. The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is one week before the election. 

Military and overseas voters should visit the information for military and overseas voters web page for information on how they can obtain an absentee ballot.

Other ways to request a mail-in ballot

office building

If your application is accepted, you will get a mail-in ballot with instructions from your county election office.

What’s an annual mail-in ballot request?

long list with a pencil

You now have the option to request to be added to an annual mail-in ballot request list where you’ll receive an application to renew your mail-in ballot request each year. Once your application is approved, you will automatically receive ballots for the remainder of the year, and you do not need to submit an application for each election.

Apply online for a mail-in ballot

Download and print a mail-in ballot application:



How do I vote with a mail-in ballot?

hand marking votes on a paper ballot
1. Mark your ballot, following the instructions.

hand signing the return envelope next an X
2. Place your ballot in the secrecy envelope and then put the secrecy envelope into the official envelope. Be sure to sign the form, or your ballot may not count.

stamped envelope being put into a USPS mailbox
3. Return your ballot so it arrives at the county election office on time.




Voting by Absentee Ballot

Absentee ballot applications for the June 2, 2020, primary election must be received by your county election office by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

If you have an emergency you may still be able to get an absentee ballot after the deadline, called an emergency absentee ballot. You can find information about how to get an emergency absentee ballot at the end of this page.

An absentee ballot is a ballot sent to you by mail. You can mark and cast the ballot by returning it to the county election office.


How do I apply for an absentee ballot?

Option 1: Apply for an Absentee Ballot Online

computer with text reading Register

Apply Online VotesPA.com/ApplyAbsentee

Registered voters can apply for an absentee ballot online with a valid PA driver's license or photo I.D. from the PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

Military and overseas voters should visit the information for military and overseas voters web page for information on how they can obtain an absentee ballot.

Apply for an absentee ballot

Option 2: Apply for an Absentee Ballot by mail

paper and pencil

Step 1: Complete a paper absentee ballot application:

Download and print an absentee ballot application:

Fill in the paper absentee ballot application. Mark the reason why you cannot get to the polling place on election day. In Pennsylvania, you must meet one of the listed reasons.

envelope with a piece of paper sticking out and a checkmark

Step 2: Mail your application:

Send your absentee ballot application to the county election office. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is one week before the election. Members of the military can apply at any time.

Other ways to request an absentee ballot

office building

If your application is accepted, you will get an absentee ballot with instructions from your county election office.

What’s an annual absentee ballot request?

long list with a pencil

You now have the option to request to be added to an annual absentee ballot request list where you’ll receive an application to renew your absentee ballot request each year. This only applies if you have a permanent disability or illness when applying for this option when submitting an absentee ballot application. Once your application is approved, you will automatically receive ballots for the remainder of the year, and you do not need to submit an application for each election.


How do I vote with an absentee ballot?

hand marking votes on a paper ballot
1. Mark your ballot, following the instructions.

hand signing the return envelope next an X
2. Place your ballot in the secrecy envelope and then put the secrecy envelope into the official envelope. Be sure to sign the form, or your ballot may not count.

stamped envelope being put into a USPS mailbox
3. Return your ballot so it arrives at the county election office on time.


Emergency Absentee Ballot



Requirements and Frequently Asked Questions