by Marija G., Alyssa V., and Kalela W.
With uncertainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many are preparing for the primaries with a short walk to their mailbox. Deadlines have been postponed, anyone in Pennsylvania can take advantage of mail-in voting!
In order to protect the health and safety of all voters, poll workers, and election officials while also ensuring access to voting, Pennsylvania residents now have additional time to register for the primary (until May 18, 2020) and the Pennsylvania primary elections are postponed to Tuesday, June 2. ALL Pennsylvania voters can now vote by mail!
Why should I vote in the primaries?
- Primaries determine candidates for each party for the general election in November 2020. With 2020 being an election year, you have a chance to determine the presidential nominees for the two major political parties.
- There will also be other elections taking place during the primaries: Congressional Representatives, State Representatives, and Attorney General; and for other posts such as the state Auditor General and Treasurer. Also, there are two ballot measures on this primary.
- Voting is an important form of political and civic participation. It is one of the most direct ways that you can exercise your rights.
For up-to-date election information in Pennsylvania, visit votesPA.com, or contact your county election office.
How do I register to vote or update my voter registration?
- To register to vote, or change your address or information, you can use a paper application or register online.
- The new deadline to register to vote, or update your voter registration, is Monday, May 18.
- You must be registered with either the Democratic or Republican party in order to vote in the primary.
- If you are unsure of your current voter registration status, you can check your status and conduct a search using either your name, your Driver’s License Number, or PennDOT-ID.
So all registered voters can do mail-in or absentee voting?
That's right! Last fall, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 77 (P.L. 552, No. 77 Cl. 25), which allowed for historic election reforms and improvements to voting security, as well as to support voter convenience. Through this law, ALL Pennsylvania registered voters now have the ability to vote by mail. There are two options for mail ballots: absentee or mail-in.
- You can apply for an absentee ballot if you plan to be out of the municipality on election day, or if you have a disability or illness. Should you select this ballot option, you would be required to list your reason in your application.
- Alternatively, you can now apply for a mail-in ballot. Mail-in ballots can be requested without the need to provide a reason at the time of your application.
- Registered voters can apply for either option of the mail ballot online with a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license or photo I.D. number. If you do not have a valid license or photo ID, you can print and mail your absentee or mail-in application to your County Board of Elections.
- Pennsylvania residents who are overseas or are in the military can use the federal form when applying for an absentee ballot.
All mail-in ballot applications must be received by your county election office by 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 26. Once you receive your mail-in ballot, you now have until 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 2 for your completed ballot to be received at your county election office. So, if you plan to drop it off, or put it in the mail, do so as early as you can to ensure it is delivered on time.
What are those deadlines and dates again?
May 18, 2020 - by Midnight or 5:00 p.m.
Deadline to register to vote in the Pennsylvania primaries. You can register online by midnight or download and mail your application to your local Voter Registration Office to be received by 5:00 p.m. on May 18. The city’s address for applications by mail is:
Philadelphia Voter Registration Office
520 N. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
May 26, 2020 - by 5:00 p.m.
All mail-in ballot applications are due at your County Election office. For Philadelphia County, the mailing address is:
Philadelphia County Board of Elections
142 City Hall
1400 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19107
June 2, 2020 - by 8:00 p.m.,
The deadline that mail-in votes must be received at the above City Hall address. Or, this is the day to vote at your polling place.
Anything else I should know?
- You will need to apply for an absentee or mail-in ballot for each election, unless you qualify for or request permanent status to vote by mail-in ballot. The above deadlines pertain to the Pennsylvania primary elections, not the U.S. presidential elections in November.
- Once you submit a mail-in ballot, you cannot vote in person.
- Remember that mail takes time, so allow as many extra days as possible to mail in your applications and ballots. Postmark dates do not count!