Shapiro Administration Reminds Voters They Can Apply for, Complete and Return Their Mail Ballot in One Visit Ahead of the Primary Election

Harrisburg, PA – Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt reminded Pennsylvanians today they can apply for, complete, and return their mail ballot in-person in one visit to their county board of elections office until 5 p.m. May 9. 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.

"Voters can ensure their voices are heard by requesting, completing, and returning their mail-in or absentee ballot in a single stop at their county board of elections office," Schmidt said. "This provides eligible Pennsylvanians with another convenient option for casting their ballot."

Once a county has finalized and printed absentee and mail-in ballots, voters can go to their county elections office or satellite office and request a mail-in or absentee ballot application. County election officials will first verify the voter's eligibility, which will include checking proper identification. Election officials will then provide the voter with a ballot, which they can complete and return on the spot.

Voters should read all instructions carefully and follow these steps to ensure their ballot is counted:

  • Enclose the mail ballot in the inner security envelope marked "official election ballot" and seal it.
  • Seal the inner security envelope in the pre-addressed outer envelope.
  • Sign and put the current date on the voter's declaration on the outer envelope.

Voted mail ballots must be received by a voter's county board of elections by 8 p.m. May 16, Primary Election Day. To date, more than 660,000 Pennsylvanians have applied for a mail-in ballot and more than 53,000 Pennsylvanians have applied for an absentee ballot to vote in the primary.  

In Pennsylvania, voters also have the option of voting in person at their polling place on Primary Day if they have not already submitted a mail ballot. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 16.

The deadline to register to vote in the primary is May 1. Pennsylvanians can register to vote and check their registration status online or download and print a registration form and deliver it to their county election board. Applications must be received by the county no later than May 1.
Pennsylvanians wishing to register to vote in the May 16 primary must be:   

  • a U.S. citizen for at least one month before the primary; 
  • a resident of Pennsylvania and of the election district in which the person plans to register and vote for at least 30 days before the primary;
  • at least 18 years old on or before the primary.

Only voters registered as Democrats or Republicans will select nominees in the primary to represent their party in the Nov. 7 general election. However, all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, will be able to vote May 16 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. 

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