Can’t make it to the polls on Election Day? Here’s how to request a new mail-in ballot online

By: - February 11, 2020 5:36 pm

To vote from the comfort of your home, all you need to request a new, mail-in ballot for the April 28 primary is to fill out a form on the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website.

To apply for a mail-in ballot, you must apply by 5 p.m. on April 21, one week before the election.

By law, counties can only start processing mail-in ballots 50 days before the election — or March 9 for this year’s primary, according to the Department of State.

Once the names on the ballot are final, counties can start to mail ballots to voters, or provide them in-person at the county’s election office, the department said.

After receiving the ballot, you must return it by mail or in person to the county election’s office by  8 p.m. on Election Day, when polls close, the department added.

Previously, Pennsylvania voters could only mail their ballot if they were voting absentee and met certain requirements, including being away at college, or if they were an active duty service member serving away from home. Now, Pennsylvanians do not need an excuse to vote by mail.

The change was approved in fall 2019 as part of an omnibus reform law of the state’s antiquated election code.

Here’s how voting will be different in Pennsylvania by the 2020 primary

Voters can still apply for absentee ballots online. They can also apply for either an absentee ballot or a mail-in ballot in person at their county election’s office, or by mailing in a printed application form, the department said. 

Printable forms are available here for absentee ballots and here for mail-in ballots. Find your county election office here.

Within the online application, voters can apply to be added to a list of automatic mail-in ballot voters. Department of State spokesperson Wanda Murren said such voters only need to return an application each February to ensure they will receive a ballot from their county before each year’s primary, general, and any special elections.

You can apply for an mail-in ballot here. You must be registered to vote to apply. 

Check if you are registered to vote here. If you aren’t, register online here. The deadline to register for the primary is April 13

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Stephen Caruso
Stephen Caruso

Stephen Caruso is a former senior reporter with Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Before working with the Capital-Star he covered Pennsylvania state government for The PLS Reporter.