From voter registration to mail-in ballot requests: what to know ahead of the May 16 primary

The deadline to register to vote in the May 16 primary election is May 1

By: - April 9, 2023 6:30 am
A week out from Election Day, outside groups have reported spending $7.7 million on behalf of Democratic and Republican candidates. (Photo by Daniella Heminghaus for the New Jersey Monitor)

(Photo by Daniella Heminghaus)

Pennsylvania voters will cast their ballots in mid-May to fill vacancies in the state’s appellate courts, and a host of municipal-level seats across the commonwealth. 

Voters in the 108th Legislative District in Montour and Northumberland counties and the 163rd Legislative District in Delaware County can vote in special elections for state representative as well.

With the municipal primary five weeks away, here’s what eligible voters need to know to vote on May 16. 

When is the deadline to register to vote?

The last day to register to vote before the primary election is May 1.

How can I register if I am not already registered?

Pennsylvanians can register to vote online, by mail, or at Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Photo License and Driver’s License Centers.

Voter registration requirements can be found here

How can I check that I am registered to vote?

Not sure if you’re registered? Check your registration status here.

Who can vote in a primary election?

Pennsylvania has closed primary elections, meaning only voters registered as either a Democrat or a Republican can vote in primaries.

Unaffiliated and third-party voters can change their party affiliation on their voter registration before the registration deadline to cast a ballot in the primary election.

Voters in the 108th and 163rd Legislative Districts can participate in the special election regardless of their party affiliation.

First-time voter?

If you are a first-time voter or moved and have a new polling place, you will need to present a valid ID to cast your ballot.

When is the last day to request a mail-in or absentee ballot?

Voters have until May 9 to request their mail-in or absentee ballots for the May 16 primary election.

Where do I return a mail-in or absentee ballot?

Mail-in and absentee ballots must be returned to the county board of elections office, or other officially designated location, such as dropboxes, by 8 p.m. on Election Day. 

Under state law, voters must return their own ballots to be counted. The only exception is for voters with disabilities, who may designate someone in writing to return their ballot on their behalf. 

When do polls open?

For voters casting their ballots in person, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. 

Where can I find my polling place?

Voters can find their polling location here.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.