Frequently Asked Questions About Pennsylvania Elections

There have been a lot of changes with Pennsylvania elections. Getting clear, accurate information from a trusted source is critical to ensuring that every eligible voter can cast their vote and make their voice heard. 

Voting Basics

  1. All registered PA voters can cast their ballot by mail.

    1. Apply online today.

    2. Applications are available in multiple languages.

    3. You do not need an excuse to apply for a mail-in ballot.

  2. Vote at your county election office.

    1. Once your county’s ballots are finalized and printed, you can go to your county election office, apply for a mail ballot, vote your ballot, and submit your ballot in the same visit.

  3. Vote in person at your polling place on Election Day.

    1. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

    2. Find your polling place at

  1. You can check your voter registration status online. You can also contact your county's election and voter registration officials, or call 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).
  2. If you are already registered to vote, you do not have to register again in Pennsylvania unless you changed your address, changed your name, or want to change your political party.

NoUnless it's your first time voting at a new polling place. If it's your first time voting at a new location, you must bring one of the approved forms of identification. Your ID doesn't need to be a photo ID. There are many forms of non-photo ID that are acceptable.

Call the Department of State's election hotline at 1-877-VOTES-PA for assistance. Telephone interpreters are available.

  • Sign up to be a poll worker.
  • Check before you share information on social media.                                
    • Unfortunately, in every election cycle, dishonest sources deliberately spread false information to try to suppress the vote.
    • They use social media to amplify their disinformation.
    • Rely only on trusted, official sources of information, such as and help inform others.
    • On social media, look for the department's hashtags - #ReadyToVotePA and #TrustedInfo.
    • Follow @PAStateDept and @PAStateSec on Twitter and @PADepartmentofState on Facebook.
  • Vote!

Mail Ballots

  1. Yes. Voters must apply every year to receive ballots in the mail for the remainder of that year (and through the third Monday in February of the following year). If you are on the annual list, your county board of elections will mail an annual application to you in February of each year. Complete and return that application to receive ballots for each election in which you are eligible to vote that year.
  2. If you're not already on the annual mail-in voter list, you can  request to be placed on it.

  1. No. The only exceptions are if you are a voter with a disability and have designated someone, in writing, to deliver your ballot, or if you need an emergency absentee ballot.
  2. Return your own ballot as soon as you receive it.  Mail it or deliver it in person to your county board of elections office or other official location designated by your county board of elections.

It depends on whether you asked to be an annual voter on your primary ballot application. 

  1. If yes, then you do not need to reapply. If no, then you do.
  2. If you're not sure, contact your county board of elections.

  1. Check the status of your ballot online.
  2. Contact your county election office.
  3. If you did not receive or cast your mail ballot, you may request to vote a provisional ballot at your polling place on Election Day. After county election officials verify that you did not vote by mail, they will count your provisional ballot.

  1. When you receive your mail-in or absentee ballot, make sure you read all the instructions, and make sure you vote both sides of the ballot, if applicable.
  2. Put your completed ballot in the inner secrecy envelope that indicates "Official Election Ballot." Do NOT make any marks on the secrecy envelope.
  3. Then put the secrecy envelope inside the pre-addressed outer return envelope where the voter signs.
  4. Complete the voter's declaration by signing and writing the current date. Be sure to seal the outer envelope.
  5. Return your mail ballot to your county board of elections by mail, in person at your county election office or by dropping it off at another location designated by your county board of elections.
  6. If you return your ballot by mail, you need a postage stamp for the envelope.

Yes. If a voter is unable to complete their mail-in or absentee ballot independently, they may receive assistance from a person they choose.

Pennsylvania has also implemented an accessible remote ballot-marking solution for mail voting for use by voters with a disability. If you need assistance, you may call 1-877-VOTES-PA (1-877-868-3772).

Yes. If you don't want to receive mail ballots for a specific year, just don't return the annual application you receive from your county. You'll be able to vote in person, on Election Day, using a regular ballot.

Yes. You will receive an application every year until you cancel your annual mail-in or absentee status or move to another county and do not request to transfer your status to the new county.

  1. No.
  2. If you received a mail ballot but did not complete it, you may surrender your incomplete mail ballot, along with both envelopes, at your polling place and vote a regular ballot.
  3. If you did vote your mail ballot and returned it to your county board of elections, you are not eligible to vote at your polling place. If you believe that you are eligible to vote in person, you can vote by provisional ballot. Your provisional ballot will be reviewed by the county board of elections after Election Day.
  4. If you requested a mail ballot but did not receive it, or you do not have it to surrender at your polling place, you may vote by provisional ballot at your polling place.
  5. Remember that it is unlawful to fraudulently vote more than once in the same election.

Yes. Contact your county board of elections to update your registration and request to maintain your annual mail ballot status or have your existing mail ballot application transferred.

In-Person Voting Issues

You must go to your correct polling place to vote. However, if you believe you are eligible to vote at that polling place, you may vote using a provisional ballot.

Yes. If this happens, you have the right to vote using a provisional ballot.

Election Security


The Department of State has confidence in the security of Pennsylvania's election process and mail ballot system.

Additional Details:

Each mail ballot packet sent to a voter has a unique ID number. That same number is also printed on the pre-addressed outer return envelope where the voter must sign. When either type of mail ballot (absentee or no-excuse mail-in) is received and pre-canvassed, the unique ID number is scanned into the statewide system. To issue a second ballot to a voter, the county must first cancel the ballot initially issued to the voter. In other words, each voter can receive only one ballot. If a voter attempts to vote a second ballot, the system will flag that there is already a ballot from that voter.

If a voter returns a mail ballot, their record is marked, and that notation is included in the poll book to ensure that poll workers are aware that the voter's ballot has been cast. The department also updated the poll book format to move the names of voters who have returned their ballots to a separate list at the end of the poll book. Those voters can only vote at a polling place by means of a provisional ballot, which is reviewed by the county after the election. If the county determines that a voter did, in fact, already cast a mail ballot, the voter's provisional ballot will not be counted.

  1. No.
  2. Many voter education and get-out-the-vote organizations send mail ballot information and applications to Pennsylvania voters. For that reason, you may receive multiple applications. Returning more than one application will result in additional workload for the election staff in your county office, but you will still be sent only one ballot.
  3. In addition, voters have reported receiving mail ballots even though they did not apply for them. In nearly all cases, these voters opted to be added to the annual mail ballot list when they applied for a mail ballot for the primary. Opting into this list means that your county will send you a ballot for all elections during that calendar year.
  4. If you would like to receive a mail ballot, the Department of State recommends using the official absentee or mail-in ballot application.

Election Results

While we know there may be a rush to predict the outcome of an election, the Department of State prioritizes accuracy and security above all else. We want PA voters to know that their votes will be accurately counted and verified.  

Some counties have implemented time-saving measures allowed in election legislation passed in 2019 and 2020. These measures include using a central process for tabulating mail ballots and beginning processing and tabulating of mail ballots at 7 a.m. on Election Day. 

The results of federal and state elections in Pennsylvania are available on our election results website starting after 8 p.m. on election night.

The results of county, city, and local elections in Pennsylvania may be found on your county's board of elections website.

Finally, when it comes to results and any other election-related information, make sure you are getting your information from trusted sources, such as the Department of State's voting website,