Here’s what to know before voting in the May 17 primary election

Candidates for U.S. Senate, governor, lieutenant governor, and legislative races are on the ballot in Pa.

By: - May 10, 2022 9:27 am

Election Day is one week away.

With candidates for U.S. Senate, governor, lieutenant governor, and legislative races on the ballot, voters will choose their party’s nominee in races that could determine control in Washington D.C. and what kind of legislation becomes law in Pennsylvania.

Here’s what to know before casting your ballot in the May 17 primary election.

Who can vote in the primary election?

In Pennsylvania, you can only vote for candidates with the same affiliation during primary elections. This means that if you’re a registered Republican, you can only vote in the Republican primary — not the Democratic contest.

Can I still register or make updates to my voter registration?

No. The last day to register with a political party and make adjustments to existing voter registration in Pennsylvania ahead of the May 17 primary election was May 2.

How do I check my voter registration?

To check your voter registration, use the voter registration status form at pavoterservices.pa.gov/pages/voterregistrationstatus.aspx. You may also contact your local elections office, or call 1-877-VOTESPA.

Can I vote in the election by mail or absentee ballot?

Yes. All voters in Pennsylvania can cast ballots by mail.

Absentee ballots are available to voters who won’t be in their municipality on Election Day or those with a disability or illness that prevents them from voting in person.

To request either type of ballot, you must be registered to vote and apply by 5 p.m. on May 10.

How do I apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot?

Much like the registration process, mail-in and absentee ballot applications can be submitted online, by mail, or at your local elections office.

To apply online, visit pavoterservices.pa.gov/OnlineAbsenteeApplication. If your application is approved, you’ll receive an email confirmation.

You also have the option to request to be added to the annual mail-in ballot request list, which means you’ll receive an application to renew your mail-in ballot request each year. Once your application is approved, you’ll automatically receive ballots for the rest of the year.

How do I return my mail-in or absentee ballot?

Once your mail-in ballot is filled out and signed, put it in the secrecy envelope and put the sealed secrecy envelope into the official envelope. Make sure to sign the form.

Pennsylvania law requires that voters return their own ballot. The only exceptions to this are for voters with a disability who have designated someone in writing to deliver their ballot.

Mail-in ballots can be returned by mail or taken to your local elections office. All ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

How do I know if my county has ballot drop boxes?

Voters can find a complete list of ballot drop box locations here.

How do I know my ballot was received?

You should receive an email confirmation once your ballot is collected and received by the county elections office.

I’m voting in person. How do I find my polling place?

To find your polling place, visit pavoterservices.pa.gov or call your local elections office.

When do polls open on Election Day?

Precincts are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Do I need identification to vote in person?

If you’ve voted at your polling place before, you do not need to bring an ID to cast your ballot.

First-time voters, or voters whose polling location has changed, must show valid identification, including:

  • Driver’s license
  • 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

Identification without a photo must have your address on it.

What if I’m intimidated at the polls or while returning my ballot?

Any activity that threatens or intimidates voters outside or inside a polling place is illegal.

Anyone who witnesses or experiences voter intimidation should report the incident to their local board of elections or district attorney.

All alleged violations are required to be investigated.

Voters should also report any issues to the Department of State at 1-877-868-3772.

Additional reading

An early guide to Pennsylvania’s 2022 Senate and governor’s primary election

The Capital-Star’s 2022 Pa. incumbent retirement and primary tracker

‘Carpetbagger’ accusations continue in Pa.’s GOP U.S. Senate race

Where do Democrats vying for U.S. Senate in Pa. compare on key issues?

Pa. Democrats vying for U.S. Senate highlight policy divides in televised debate

F&M poll shows Fetterman leads in Democratic U.S. Senate primary, Republican race remains wide open

U.S. Senate Democratic candidates Lamb, Kenyatta face off in first debate in Fetterman’s absence

With court expected to strike down Roe v. Wade, Pa.’s governor race could determine abortion access

Where GOP U.S. Senate candidates stand on abortion access, COVID-19, 2020 election, immigration

Still a topic in 2022, here’s what GOP U.S. Senate candidates say about certification, moving on

U.S. Senate Dems agree on abortion access; divided on court expansion, abolishing Electoral College

In a sharp-elbowed debate, Pa’s Republican governor candidates make their pitch

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Marley Parish
Marley Parish

A Pennsylvania native, Marley Parish covers the Senate for the Capital-Star. She previously reported on government, education and community issues for the Centre Daily Times and has a background in writing, editing and design. A graduate of Allegheny College, Marley served as editor of the campus newspaper, where she also covered everything from student government to college sports.

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