Voting in Pennsylvania
Voting in Pennsylvania
Learn how to exercise your right to vote. This guide will help connect you with Pennsylvania’s voting and election services.
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Registering to Vote
How do I register to vote online?
To register online for the next primary, special, municipal or general election visit register.votesPA.com . You can access this application with a computer or a smartphone with connection to the internet.
When is the deadline to register to vote in the April 2020 primary election?
The deadline to register to vote is now 15 days prior to an election, rather than 30 days.
What happens after I submit the online voter registration application?
Once your online voter registration application is approved, your county election office will mail a voter registration card to your residence.
Who can vote an absentee ballot?
- Voters who are serving in the armed forces, Merchant Marine, or who are outside the United States because of business, and their accompanying spouses and dependents.
- Voters who are absent from their municipality during the time the polls are open because of work.
- Voters who cannot attend their polling place because of illness or disability or veterans who are bedridden or hospitalized.
- Voters who are county employees and cannot vote at the polling place because of their duties relating to the conduct of the election.
- Voters who cannot attend because of observance of aÂ religious holiday.
- Voters and their accompanying spouses who are absent due to a leave of absence or sabbatical leave.
- Voters who are absent because they are on vacation.
- Voters who are college students and are attending school away from home.
How can I apply for an absentee ballot?
Registered voters can now apply for an absentee ballot online with a valid PA driver’s license or photo I.D. from the PA Department of Transportation (PennDot).
Download an absentee ballot application form at votespa.com/absentee . Print, complete, sign, and deliver or mail the application to your county election office. The address and telephone number for your county election office may be found at votespa.com/county .
Stop by your county election office to apply in person. Find a county election office near you .
If you are a member of the military, an overseas voter, or in need of an emergency absentee ballot, visit Voting by Absentee Ballot to learn about other ways to request an absentee ballot .
When is the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot?
Whether you’re applying online or by mail, your county election office must receive your application for absentee ballot no later than 5 p.m. on the Tuesday before the election.
Because of late delivery by the U.S. Postal Service, the Department of State recommends that voters submit their absentee ballot applications at least two weeks before the election.
If you are in an emergency situation (such as an unexpected illness or disability) that prevents you from subitting your application on time, you can submit an emergency application for absentee ballot .
How do I fill out and submit an absentee ballot?
Once you receive your absentee ballot:
- Fill out your absentee ballot.
- Once complete, place your ballot in the secrecy envelope and then put the secrecy envelope into the official envelope. Note: Be sure to sign the form, or your ballot may not count.
- Mail your completed absentee ballot to your county election office .
When is the deadline to submit a competed absentee ballot?
Your county election office must receive your voted absentee ballot by 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before the election.
If you submited your application for an absentee ballot on the Tuesday before the election, the Department of State recommends that you return your voted absentee ballot in-person to your county election office .
Military and overseas voters must postmark their ballot by 11:59 pm the day before Election Day. The ballot must arrive no later than one week after Election Day.
If you are in an emergency situation (such as an unexpected illness or disability) that prevents you from submitting your absentee ballot on time, you can still submit an emergency absentee ballot .
Where can I find more information on requesting an absentee ballot?
For more information on absentee ballots, visit Voting by Absentee Ballot .
If you are a member of the military or an overseas civilian voter, visit Information for Military and Overseas Voters .
If you experience an emergency situation (such as an unexpected illness or disability), here is more information on applying for and submitting an emergency absentee ballot .
At the Polls
How do I find my polling place?
- Your polling place location is printed on your voter registration card.
- Call your county election office.
- Look it up online at votespa.com/pollingplace .
When are the polls open on Election Day?
The polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If you are in line when the polls close, you are entitled to vote.
Do I need any identification (ID) to vote?
If you have voted at your polling location before, you do not need to bring ID to vote. Only voters who are voting for the first time in their election district need to show ID. Acceptable ID includes both photo and non-photo ID.
Acceptable IDs for first-time voters:
- Driver’s license
- U.S. passport
- Military, student, or employee ID
- Voter registration card
- Firearm permit
- Current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government check
- Any ID issued by the commonwealth or federal government
Note: An ID without your photo must have your address on it.
What if my name isn't in the poll book?
The local officials at your poll should call the County Board of Elections to determine if you are registered. If you are, you should be able to vote normally.
What if I'm in the wrong precinct?
If you are registered but in the wrong precinct, you should go to the correct precinct.
What if the County Board of Elections cannot find my name?
If you believe you were registered and omitted from the poll book, you may vote a provisional ballot.
What is a provisional ballot?
A provisional ballot is a paper ballot which should be provided to voters who believe they are registered voters but whose names are not on the rolls, or first-time voters who do not provide ID at the polls on Election Day.
Can my right to vote be challenged?
Yes, but only for certain reasons and by certain people. A poll worker, poll watcher, or other voter may only challenge a voter on the grounds that the voter does not live in the precinct or the voter is not the person the voter says he or she is.
The voter may still vote normally by signing a challenge affidavit and producing a witness to vouch for him or her (have a witness come to the polling location with you).
Can someone assist me at the polls?
You have the right to assistance if you cannot read or write; cannot read the names on the ballots; have difficulty understanding English; or are blind, disabled, or unable to operate the voting machine.
- You may request help from a relative, friend, neighbor, or another voter.
- You do not need to be designated in the poll book district register as “assistance permitted” to receive this assistance.
If you want assistance, you must sign an Assistance Declaration, unless the poll book already indicates “assistance permitted.” You also have the right to refuse assistance.
Who can be inside the polling place?
Only precinct election officials, clerks, machine inspectors, watchers, no more than 10 persons in the process of voting, persons lawfully giving assistance to voters, and police officers in the act of voting or who have been called to the polling place to preserve the peace, are allowed inside or within 10 feet of the polling place while voting is in progress. Everyone else, including individuals handing out campaign literature, must remain at least 10 feet away.
What happens if I am intimidated at the polls?
In Pennsylvania it is illegal for any person or corporation through intimidation or coercion to induce or compel a person to vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate or on a particular political issue.
If you have experienced intimidation at the polls, you should call your District Attorney’s Office and notify your County Board of Elections. The address and telephone number for your county election office may be found at votespa.com/county .
You can also submit a complaint to the Department of State via an online web form or by calling 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).
Report Election Complaints
Fair and honest elections are the foundations of our republic, and everyone must take responsibility for helping to ensure the integrity of the process.
We encourage voters who have any issues at the polls or may be aware of election fraud or irregularities in Pennsylvania to report them via the Department of State’s election complaint form or by calling 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).
You can also contact your county election office. The address and telephone number for your county election office may be found at votespa.com/county .
Returns and Statistics
Real-time Election Returns
The Pennsylvania Department of State provides Pennsylvanians an online portal for viewing election returns in real-time as reports are received from the commonwealth’s 67 counties on Election Day. The portal also allows users to customize searches, receive timely updates, and view results on mobile devices, as well as provides direct links to each county’s election returns website.
Voter and Election Statistics
The Department of State publishes current voting statistics and related archive data .
The Wolf Administration and the Pennsylvania Department of State have taken several steps to further strengthen election security and the integrity of your vote.
These steps include additional measures to protect voter registration data and voting systems. Pennsylvania also collaborates with federal and state law enforcement partners to stay one step ahead of potential threats.
Learn more about the measures the commonwealth is taking to protect your vote .
Voting & Elections and the Wolf Administration
The Wolf Administration has made it a priority to maximize efficiency, increase data security, modernize state government operations, and provide the highest quality services to Pennsylvanians — including services related to voting and elections.
Built by the Pennsylvania Department of State, the award-winning VotesPA system allows eligible citizens to more easily register to vote and make updates to their voter record, such as a change of name, address, or party affiliation. Since its launch on August 27, 2015, more than 1 million Pennsylvanians have used the online service , available in both English and Spanish.
In an effort to meet people where they are, the Wolf Administration also made the VotesPA website and poll search mobile friendly.
To provide voters a higher level of transparency and efficiency during elections, the Wolf Administration and the Department of State also launched a revamped election-results website . The redesigned site allows users to view returns live as they are submitted to the Department of State.