Shapiro Administration Reminds Voters of Oct. 31 Deadline to Request Mail-in or Absentee Ballot

Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt reminded Pennsylvanians today they can apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot for the upcoming Municipal Election until Tuesday, Oct. 31. Ensuring that our elections are conducted freely, fairly, and securely – and that every eligible voter can make their voice heard – are top priorities of the Shapiro Administration.

"Voting by mail is a safe, secure, and convenient way for Pennsylvanians to make their voices heard this election," Schmidt said. "Voters also have the option, until 5 p.m. Oct. 31, to apply for a mail-in ballot in person at their county election office and then cast that ballot all in one visit, ensuring their ballot is received."

Pennsylvania voters can choose from two vote-by-mail options: no-excuse mail-in ballot 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, 900,132 voters have applied for mail-in ballots ahead of the Nov. 7 municipal election, 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, 71,161 voters have applied for absentee ballots ahead of the Nov. 7 municipal election, Schmidt said. 

Mail ballot applications must be received by a voter's county elections board by 5 p.m. Oct. 31. 

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 write 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 designate 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, Nov. 7. Mail ballots received after that time, even if postmarked by 8 p.m. Nov. 7, will not count. 

Voters who received an absentee or mail-in ballot may vote in person on Election Day if they bring their unvoted mail ballot and outer envelope with them to be voided. After they surrender their ballot material and sign a declaration, they can then vote a regular ballot.

Voters who requested a mail ballot and did not receive it or do not have it to surrender may vote by provisional ballot at their polling place. The provisional ballot will be reviewed by the county board of elections after Election Day to determine whether it can be counted.

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

For more information on voting and elections, visit or call the Department of State's year-round hotline, 1-877-VOTESPA (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