Voters have until Tuesday to apply for mail-in ballots in Pa. Here’s how to do it

By: - May 21, 2020 9:30 am

(Capital-Star photo).

If you want to join the 1.5 million Pennsylvanians who plan to vote by mail for the June 2 primary election, your deadline is fast approaching. 

Registered voters have until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26 to request mail-in and absentee ballots from their county election offices. 

You can use this link from the Pennsylvania Department of State to apply for your ballot, which must be sent back to your county election office by 8 p.m. on Election Day on June 2. 

Here’s what else you need to know. 

Who can vote by mail?

The 2020 primary election is the first in Pennsylvania’s history in which all eligible voters can cast ballots by mail. 

But since Pennsylvania has closed primaries, only registered Democrats and Republicans can request mail-in ballots for the June nominating contests. Independent voters will be able to vote by mail in November’s general election. 

You can use this link to check your voter registration status.

If you aren’t registered, you won’t be able to vote on June 2 — the deadline has already passed. But you can still use the state’s online voter registration application to get on the voter rolls before the General Election in November.

What do I need?

You’ll need a valid Pennsylvania-issued ID or driver’s license to complete the online ballot request form

If you don’t have one, you’ll have to download and complete a paper application for a mail-in ballot and send it to your county election office. 

Para recibir una solicitud por correo en español, descargue el formulario de solicitud en papel en el correo.

If you don’t have a printer to download that paper ballot application, you can submit this request online to ask election officials to send a ballot application form to your home. 

Si no puede enviar una solicitud en línea o no tiene una impresora para descargar un formulario de solicitud, puede enviar un pedido en línea para recibir un formulario por correo

You’ll then have to turn that form to your county election office so they can process your request and send you a ballot. 

What happens when I get my ballot?

Once your county office processes your request, officials will send you a paper ballot at the address you provided in your application. 

Philadelphia Magazine has a handy guide to filling out Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballot. You can also use the Capital-Star’s voters guide to learn more about races and candidates below:

Pennsylvania Primary 2020: Your guide to the June 2 presidential and statewide elections

The deadline to return your ballot is 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2. Postmarks don’t count, so send your ballot early to make sure it gets counted. 

What’s the advantage of voting by mail?

State officials have been touting mail-in ballots as a safe, convenient way for voters to avoid lines and crowded polling places during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Election security experts say there is no evidence to believe that vote-by-mail is susceptible to fraud. 

However, mail-in voting still isn’t fully accessible to all people with disabilities — something Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar says will be fixed by November. 

If you still want to cast your votes at a polling place next month, you can do so. Some counties have changed or consolidated poll locations due to the pandemic. You can use this tool from the Department of State to find your polling place.

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Elizabeth Hardison
Elizabeth Hardison

Elizabeth Hardison covered education policy, election administration, criminal justice and legislative news for the Capital-Star from Jan. 2019-April 2021. You can find her on Twitter @ElizHardison.