Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar announced that Pennsylvania voters can now apply online to vote by mail-in ballot for the April 28 primary. The deadline for county election offices to receive applications is 5 p.m. on April 21.
“This is the first election in which Pennsylvania voters have the convenient option of voting by mail-in ballot, without having to provide a reason for choosing it,” Secretary Boockvar said. “Thanks to historic bipartisan legislation signed into law by Gov. Wolf last fall, we are making voting easier and more accessible for all eligible Pennsylvanians, including longer voter registration periods and permanent mail-in and absentee voter lists.”
Under Act 77, Pennsylvania voters now have several ways to vote if they choose not to go to the polls or are unable to get to the polls on election day: mail-in ballot or absentee ballot, both of which they can vote via the mail or in person at their county election office:
- Mail-in ballots are for voters who simply wish to vote by mail before election day, instead of going to their polling place on election day. They do not have to give a reason or excuse. They can apply online for a mail-in ballot, or download and print the application and mail it to their county election office. Voters can also apply for and vote the ballot in person at their county election office during business hours.
- Absentee ballots are for voters who will be away from their home municipality on election day or who have a disability or illness that prevents them from going to the polls. Absentee voters must give a reason. Examples of absentee ballot voters include college students away at school, members of the military, people absent from their home municipality because of work or a vacation and people who cannot go to the polls because they are observing a religious holiday.
Both mail-in and absentee voters will receive a ballot in the mail to complete and return to their county election office by 8 p.m. on election day. The online application allows mail-in voters to request that their county election office add them to an annual mail-in voter ballot request list. Their ballot application will then be automatically mailed to them each year. ID requirements for mail-in and absentee ballots can be found at www.votespa.com.
Counties must begin processing mail-in and absentee ballot applications 50 days before the election. For the April primary, that will be March 9. As soon as the ballot is finalized, the counties will mail ballots to voters or provide them in-person at the county election office.