Shapiro Administration Reminds Voters the Deadline to Register to Vote Is Only Two Weeks Away

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt reminded eligible Pennsylvanians that the May 1 deadline to register to vote in the May 16 primary is only two weeks away. Ensuring that our elections are conducted freely and fairly, and that every eligible voter can make their voice heard, are top priorities of the Shapiro Administration.

Schmidt encouraged Pennsylvanians to use the Online Voter Registration (OVR) system, which is a fast and convenient way to register to vote. 

"Voting is the most fundamental way to participate in our democracy," Acting Secretary Schmidt said. "But first you have to register to vote. I urge every eligible Pennsylvanian who isn't yet registered to get registered by May 1." 

In addition to applying for a new registration, OVR system users can update an existing voter record, such as changing their name, address, or party affiliation.  

"Any registered voter also may request a mail-in or absentee ballot and vote from the convenience of their home," Schmidt noted. "Every vote – regardless of whether it's cast in person or via mail ballot – is precious, and I encourage all eligible Pennsylvania voters to make their voice heard in this municipal primary election."  

Voters who wish to vote by mail-in or absentee ballot must apply by 5 p.m. May 9. The deadline for county boards of elections to receive mail-in and absentee ballots is 8 p.m. on Primary Day, May 16. Ballots postmarked by that time -- but not yet received -- do not count. 

Voters who prefer to vote in person on Primary Day can find their polling place on

Pennsylvania law requires a closed primary, meaning that only voters registered as Democrats or Republicans will select nominees on May 16 to represent their party in the Nov. 7 municipal election. Eligible voters will have the opportunity to vote for their parties' nominees for the following races: 

  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice, 
  • Superior Court judges, 
  • Commonwealth Court judges, 
  • Court of Common Pleas judges, and 
  • Local officials, such as county commissioner, borough council member, township supervisor and school board member.  

The department's candidate database shows all candidates who have registered. Additionally, on May 16, all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, will be able to vote on any local ballot questions and in special elections in the following districts:  

  • 108th Legislative District for state representative in parts of Montour and Northumberland counties, and  
  • 163rd Legislative District for state representative in parts of Delaware County.  

To be eligible to vote in the May 16 primary, an individual must be: 

  • A citizen of the United States for at least one month before the primary. 
  • A resident of Pennsylvania and of the election district in which the individual plans to register and vote for at least 30 days before the primary. 
  • At least 18 years of age on or before the primary. 

In addition to registering through the OVR system, eligible voters can register to vote by mail or apply in person at:  

  • a county voter registration office,  
  • county assistance offices,  
  • Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program offices, 
  • PennDOT photo and drivers' license centers, 
  • Armed Forces recruitment centers, 
  • county clerk of orphans' courts or marriage license offices, 
  • area agencies on aging, 
  • county mental health and intellectual disabilities offices, 
    • student disability services offices of the State System of Higher Education, 
  • offices of special education in high schools, and  
    • Americans with Disabilities Act-mandated complementary paratransit providers.  

Your voter registration application must be received by your county voter registration office no later than May 1

The Department's voter information website,, is available in English and Spanish and offers printable voter registration applications, county boards of elections contact information, and tips for first-time voters and members of the military. Voters also can familiarize themselves with the voting system they will use if they vote in person on Primary Day. 


Media Contacts

Matt Heckel

Press Secretary
Department of State Media