Shapiro Administration Reminds Voters the Deadline to Apply for a Mail Ballot for the April 23 Primary Is Just One Week Away

Harrisburg, PA – Registered Pennsylvania voters planning to vote by mail ballot in the April 23 primary election have one week left to apply for their ballot online or in person, Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt said today.

The official deadline to apply for a mail ballot is April 16, though Schmidt urges those who want to vote by mail to apply for and return their completed ballot as soon as possible to ensure their vote can be counted.

“With just one week until the deadline, voters who wish to vote by mail ballot should apply online or in person today, so they still have time to receive their ballot, complete it, and return it by 8 p.m. Election Day, which is April 23 this year,” Schmidt said. “Also, remember that voters who apply for a mail ballot in person at their county board of elections office can complete their ballot and return it all in one visit.”

To date, more than 835,000 Pennsylvanians have applied for a mail ballot, which includes no-excuse mail-in and absentee ballots.

Whether they complete their mail ballot at home or at their county board of elections, voters are strongly encouraged to read all instructions carefully and follow these easy steps to ensure their ballot can be counted:

  • Read all instructions enclosed with the ballot.
  • Fill out the ballot by following the instructions on how to mark selections.
  •  Seal the ballot in the yellow inner secrecy envelope marked “official election ballot.” Do not make any stray marks on the envelope.
  • Seal the yellow 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. Note: The voter’s declaration features an icon of a hand holding a pen. The witness section on the outer envelope needs to be filled out only if a voter requires assistance to complete their ballot.
  • Mail or hand-deliver the completed ballot to their county board of elections, or hand-deliver the ballot to an officially designated satellite office or drop box.

Under Pennsylvania law, a voter may hand-deliver only their own ballot. 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 election offices must receive all completed mail ballots – whether they are mail-in or absentee ballots – by 8 p.m. on Election Day, April 23. Mail ballots returned after that time, even if postmarked by 8 p.m. April 23, will not count.

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

The Department of State’s voter information website – available in English, Spanish, and Chinese – offers voter registration applications, a polling place locator, and contact information for county elections offices. It also includes tips for first-time voters, mail-in and absentee voters, elderly and disabled voters, and members of the military.

Only voters registered as Democrats or Republicans may select nominees in the primary to represent their party in the Nov. 5 general election, but all voters are eligible to vote on constitutional amendments and ballot questions. While there are no constitutional amendments or statewide ballot questions this primary election, voters should refer to their county elections board for more information on any local ballot question or special election in their voting district.

For more information on voting and elections, visit or call the Department of State’s year-round hotline, 1-877-VOTES-PA (1-877-868-3772), which offers information and interpretation services in more than 200 languages.


Media Contacts

Matt Heckel

Press Secretary
Department of State Media