Pennsylvania Urges Voters to Request Absentee Ballots Early

Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar encouraged Pennsylvanians to submit requests for absentee ballots well before the October 29 deadline.

State law requires applications for absentee ballots to be submitted no later than one week before Election Day. For this year’s Nov. 5 municipal election, the deadline falls on Tuesday, Oct. 29. Absentee voters must return their voted ballot to their county election office by Friday, Nov. 1.

This is the first election that Pennsylvania voters can apply online for an absentee ballot, which makes the process faster, more convenient and more accessible. In the three weeks since the application site’s launch, more than 13,000 voters have used it to request an absentee ballot, representing one-third of all absentee ballot applications received.

“The new online application is a great option that has already been embraced by thousands of voters,” Secretary Boockvar said. “We strongly urge Pennsylvanians planning to vote by absentee ballot to submit their application as soon as possible.”

Voted absentee ballots must be returned by mail or hand-delivered so that county elections offices receive the ballots by 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before the election. A timely postmark is not sufficient.

“By requesting absentee ballots and returning them well before the deadlines, voters can ensure that their votes will be fully counted and their voices heard,” Secretary Boockvar said. “We don’t want any eligible Pennsylvanian to miss the chance to cast their ballot.”

Deployed members of the military, Pennsylvania students attending out-of-state colleges or universities, individuals with illnesses or disabilities, and individuals who will be away from their municipality on business on Election Day are eligible to vote by absentee ballot.  Comprehensive information about absentee ballots, including a downloadable request form, can be found on the department’s website.

Absentee ballot applicants must supply basic voter registration information, specify a reason for applying to vote absentee and provide their driver’s license of PennDOT ID number. If they do not have a driver’s license or PennDOT ID, they must give the last four digits of their Social Security number. If a voter has neither, they must present a copy of an acceptable photo ID. A list of approved alternative types of identification is available at

An absentee voter can designate an agent to deliver the absentee ballot application and completed ballot if he or she is physically unable to do so. Certification of Designated Agent forms is available online.

On November 5, Pennsylvania voters will elect judges and county and local officials. A proposed constitutional amendment on crime victims’ rights, known as Marsy’s Law, also will be on the ballot.