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Pennsylvania absentee ballot guide

Last updated: July 3, 2020
  • In Pennsylvania, you can apply for an absentee ballot online, by-mail , or in-person.

Absentee ballot deadlines

  • In-person: 7 days before Election Day
  • By-mail: Received 7 days before Election Day
  • Online: 7 days before Election Day
  • Voted absentee ballots are due: Received by Election Day

Who can vote by absentee ballot in Pennsylvania

You may get an absentee ballot and vote by mail in Pennsylvania if:

  • you are in the military service of the United States (military voters do not need to be registered to vote to vote by absentee ballot, and they do not need to be overseas or even outside of Pennsylvania)
  • you are a spouse or dependent of someone in the military, and you expect on Election Day to be absent from the Commonwealth or the municipality of residence during the entire period in which the polling places are open for voting (7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M).
  • you are a member of the Merchant Marine (or a spouse or dependent) and you expect on Election Day to be absent from the Commonwealth or the municipality of residence during the entire period in which the polling places are open for voting (7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M).
  • you are a member of a religious or welfare group attached to and serving with the armed forces (or a spouse or dependent) and you expect on Election Day to be absent from the Commonwealth or the municipality of residence during the entire period in which the polling places are open for voting (7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M).
  • you expect that your occupation or duties (including leaves of absence for teaching, vacations, and sabbatical leaves) will cause you to be away from your municipality on Election Day. This also applies to spouses and dependents.
  • you are a war veteran who is bedridden or hospitalized due to illness or physical disability and therefore unable to vote in person (note: people who fall in this group can vote by absentee ballot even if they are not already registered).
  • you are ill or physically disabled and therefore unable to go to a polling place or operate a voting machine.
  • you are employed by the Commonwealth or the Federal Government and your duties require you to be absent from the Commonwealth or the municipality of your residence on Election Day. This also applies to spouses and dependents.
  • you are employed by the county and you expect that your Election Day duties will prevent you from voting.
  • you will be observing a religious holiday and will be unable to vote.

Apply online (recommended)

  1. You can apply for an absentee ballot online in Pennsylvania.
  2. We recommend this option, since it is faster than applying by-mail or in-person.
  3. The deadline to apply online is: 7 days before Election Day.

Apply by-mail or in-person

  1. Download and fill out the Pennsylvania absentee ballot application.
  2. Sign and date your form.
  3. Mail or hand-deliver your completed form directly to your local election office. You should submit your form as soon as possible, but no later than the deadline.
  4. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by-mail is: Received 7 days before Election Day.
  5. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot in-person is: 7 days before Election Day.

Your absentee ballot should arrive within a week of your application. If it doesn’t arrive, call your local election office and follow up.

Once your ballot arrives

  1. Once you receive your absentee ballot, carefully read and follow the instructions.
  2. Mail or hand-deliver your completed absentee ballot to your local elections office. Your ballot must be received by the deadline or it will not be counted.
  3. Your voted absentee ballot must be received by Election Day.

Confused? Need help?

Contact your local elections office if you have any questions about absentee ballots in Pennsylvania.