Acting Secretary of State Reminds Voters the Deadline to Apply for a Mail-in or Absentee Ballot Is May 9

Harrisburg, PA Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt today reminded Pennsylvania voters the deadline to apply to vote by mail in the municipal primary is 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 9.  

"Every Pennsylvania voter who wants to vote using a mail ballot should apply for a no-excuse mail-in or absentee ballot today," Schmidt said. "Voters should allow for as much time as possible when using the postal service to ensure their ballot is received on time." 

Pennsylvania voters can choose from two vote-by-mail options: mail-in or absentee ballot. 

Mail-in ballots 

Any registered Pennsylvania voter can request a no-excuse mail-in ballot. Voters can apply for their ballot online or download and print an application from the Department of State's website,  

To date, 626,509 voters have applied for mail-in ballots ahead of the May 16 municipal primary, Schmidt said. 

Absentee ballots 

Voters who will be away from their home municipality on Election Day or who have a disability or illness that prevents them from going to the polls can apply for an absentee ballot online.  

So far, 44,374 voters have applied for absentee ballots ahead of the May 16 primary, Schmidt said. 

Mail ballot applications must be received by a voter's county elections board by 5 p.m. May 9. 

Upon receiving their mail ballot, voters should: 

  • Fill out the ballot by following the instructions on how to mark selections. 
  • Seal the ballot in the inner secrecy envelope marked "official ballot." Do not make any stray marks on the envelope. 
  • Then seal the inner secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed outer return envelope.  
  • Sign and put the current date on the voter's declaration on the outer return envelope. 

Under Pennsylvania law, voters are allowed to mail or hand-deliver only their own ballot to their county board of elections. The only exceptions to this rule are for voters with a disability who have designated someone in writing to deliver their ballot and for voters who need an emergency absentee ballot

County boards of election offices must receive all completed mail ballots – whether they are mail-in or absentee ballots – by 8 p.m. on Election Day, May 16. Mail ballots received after that time, even if postmarked by 8 p.m. May 16, will not count. 

Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day for those eligible voters who want to vote in person.  

For more information about all voting options, voters can visit or call 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772). 



Media Contacts

Matt Heckel

Press Secretary
Department of State Media