Pennsylvania Urges Voters to Hand-Deliver Ballots Immediately

Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar today urged Pennsylvania voters to hand-deliver their mail ballots to their county election officedrop box or other designated location as soon as possible.

“Voters who have received but not returned their mail ballots should drop them off immediately,” said Secretary Boockvar. “We know the court rulings are confusing but there is one simple way to ensure your vote is counted: Submit your ballot today. Hand-deliver your mail ballot as soon as possible to your county election office or authorized drop-off location no later than election day, and you can be certain that your vote will be counted.”

“At this point, voters should hand-deliver their ballots to be assured their vote will be counted,” said Gov. Wolf. “We strongly urge you not to return your voted ballot in the mail with only five days left before Election Day. Do not wait. Now is the time to take your ballot to your county’s designated ballot return location and you will have peace of mind that your voice will be heard in this election.”

Governor Wolf and Secretary Boockvar also reminded Pennsylvanians to make a plan for voting at their polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 3. If you plan to vote on Election Day, check your polling place location. Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on November 3. If a voter is in line at 8 p.m., they may still vote.

Voters who plan to vote at their polling place on Election Day should wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines. The Department of State is supplying counties with masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, floor marking tape for social distancing and other supplies for polling places so Pennsylvanians can safely exercise their right to vote during the COVID-19 emergency.

Voters who requested mail ballots have several options for how to return their ballots:

  • Drop off your ballot at your county election office
  • Find out if your county has drop boxes. If so, voters can deliver their ballots there.
  • Find out if your county has a satellite election office where you can drop off your ballot. Several counties have extended hours, including evenings and weekends to accommodate voters.

Before casting their mail ballot, the voter should:

  • Read the instructions carefully.
  • Fill out the ballot, being sure to follow instructions on how to mark selections.
  • Seal the ballot in the white inner secrecy envelope that indicates “official ballot.” Make sure not to make any stray marks on the envelope.
  • Then seal the inner secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed outer return envelope which the voter must sign.
  • Complete and sign the voter’s declaration on the outside of the outer return envelope.
  • For the ballot to be counted, it must be enclosed in both envelopes and the voter must sign the outer envelope.

Under Pennsylvania law, voters may only return their own ballots. The only exceptions to this are for voters with a disability who have designated someone in writing to deliver their ballot, or voters who need an emergency absentee ballotVoters with a disability have several options for how to cast their ballots this election.

Voters who applied for and received a mail ballot and then decide they want to vote at the polls must bring their entire mail ballot packet with them to be voided, including both envelopes. They may then vote on their county’s voting system.

If a voter applies for a mail ballot but does not return it and no longer has the mail ballot and envelopes, they may vote by provisional ballot at the polls on election day. Their county board of elections will then verify that they did not vote by mail before counting their provisional ballot.

Additionally, if a voter’s absentee or mail‐in ballot is rejected for a reason other than their qualification or eligibility to vote, such as a missing signature or naked ballot, they may vote by provisional ballot.

“Election day is just five days away. Do not wait to return your mail ballot,” said Secretary Boockvar. “Deliver your ballot today and ensure your voice is heard in this upcoming election.”