Although Election Day is Nov. 3, many Pennsylvanians are expected to cast a ballot by mail due to the risk of contracting COVID-19 at the polls.
The deadline to register to vote was Oct. 19. However, another important deadline is upon us. If you planned on joining the record number of Pennsylvanians expected to participate by mail, today is the final day to request a mail-in ballot.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a law in 2019 making all Pennsylvanians eligible to vote by mail.
As of Oct 23, 2.94 million voters have requested mail-ballots, according to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State. Of that, 1.86 million of those requests came from registered Democrats while registered Republicans requested 739,511 mail-in ballots. About 336,347 mail-in ballot requests came from other voters, according to data compiled by the Department of State.
Registered voters in Pennsylvania can request a mail in ballot using this application on the Department of State website. You will need either a driver’s license or the last four numbers of your social security number along with an uploaded copy of your signature.
This process can also be completed at your county election office.
When you receive your ballot, read the instructions and cast your vote. Once you are done, place your ballot in the secrecy envelope and then place that envelope into a larger pre-addressed envelope which you will then sign and date. No stamp is needed.
Ballots cannot be rejected if your signature isn’t a match to your signature on file.
There are many ways to return that mail-in ballot. Of course, you could place it in the mail, however, if you would like to submit it at a county satellite office or an official drop box, both of those options are available.
Regardless of whichever turn-in method you choose, state law requires that you submit your own ballot. No one else is allowed to do so on your behalf.
Pennsylvania voters must submit their mail-in ballot to their county election office by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Recent decisions by the state and U.S. Supreme Courts have directed county election offices to count mail-in ballots through Nov. 6 as long as they were postmarked by the Nov. 3 deadline. Ballots that are submitted after Nov. 3 will not be counted.
The Pennsylvania Department of State has an online aid that allows voters to track their ballot through each step. Given many of the new changes involving the upcoming election, the Capital-Star’s guide has all you need to prepare to cast your ballot by Nov. 3.
Kenny Cooper is a Hearken Election SOS Fellow helping the Capital-Star cover the 2020 presidential election in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter @Kenny_Cooper_Jr.