Pennsylvania absentee and mail ballot guide
Pennsylvania absentee ballot overview
Absentee ballots and mail ballots are the same thing, and the process for getting one is straight forward.
- Request your ballot by the deadline
- Receive your in ballot in the mail
- Return your ballot by the deadline
Pennsylvania absentee deadlines
- Earliest day to apply: January 1
- Request deadline (online): 7 days before Election Day
- Request deadline (by mail): Received by 7 days before Election Day
- Request deadline (in person): 7 days before Election Day
- Deadline to return your ballot (by mail): Received by Election Day
- Deadline to return your ballot (in person): Received by Election Day
Pennsylvania absentee ballot rules
Any registered Pennsylvania voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
Pennsylvania online ballot request (recommended)
- Visit the Pennsylvania absentee ballot website.
- Fill out all of the required information.
- Hit save or submit when you are done.
- The deadline to apply online is 7 days before Election Day.
Pennsylvania by-mail ballot request
- Download the Pennsylvania absentee ballot application.
- Fill out all of the required fields.
- Print the application.
- Sign and date your application. This is very important.
- Mail or hand-deliver your completed application directly to your local election office as soon as possible, but no later than the deadline.
- If it’s close to the deadline, call your local election office and see if they will let you submit your application via email or fax.
- Your application must be received by 7 days before Election Day.
Pennsylvania in-person ballot request
- Visit your local election office.
- Ask the clerk to give you an absentee ballot application.
- Fill out all of the required fields.
- Sign and date your application.
- The deadline to apply in person is 7 days before Election Day.
After you receive your ballot
- Carefully read and follow the instructions, and fill out all required fields.
- Sign and date the outside envelope.
- Mail or hand-deliver your ballot to your local election office. You can also hand-deliver your ballot to a drop box if one is available nearby. You can use our Find Out Where To Vote tool to find an official drop box.
- If you mail your ballot, it must be received by Election Day.
- If you hand-deliver your ballot, it must be received by Election Day.
- If you miss the deadline – or forget to sign the outside envelope – your vote will not be counted.
Pennsylvania absentee ballot ID requirements
- ID required when requesting a mail-in ballot:
- Online applications: You can apply online if you have a PA driver's license number or PennDOT issued nondriver's ID number.
- Paper applications: You must provide a copy of your current and valid Pennsylvania driver’s license, PennDOT photo ID card, or the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. If you don’t have a valid ID or a social security number, you can provide a photocopy of your passport or other ID issued by the Federal Government, a photo ID issued by a Pennsylvania public or private school, or a photo ID issued by a Pennsylvania care facility. Your ID must be non-expired. Additionally, the signature on your absentee ballot application will be compared to the signature on your voter registration card to ensure they match.
- ID required when returning a mail-in ballot:
Your signature on the return envelope will be compared to the signature on your voter registration card to ensure they match. If you forget to sign the return envelope, your ballot might be rejected.
Pennsylvania absentee ballot tracker
Track your ballot here: Pennsylvania absentee ballot tracker
Pennsylvania absentee ballot curing
Ballot curing is the process of resolving any problems with your absentee or mail ballot to ensure that your vote is counted. After tracking your ballot, contact your local election office to fix any issues that have been noted.
- Your ballot will be rejected if you forget to sign it.
- Your voted ballot will also be rejected if it's not inside the "secrecy envelope." If you submit a "naked ballot," your vote will be rejected.
Pennsylvania emergency ballots
Some states have special procedures that allow you to obtain an emergency ballot if a medical or other emergency occurs after the standard absentee ballot application window.
Emergency Ballot Rules
You can request an emegency absentee ballot if you experience an unexpected illness, disability or last-minute absence from your municipality within 7 days of the election.
Dates & Deadlines
- Emergency ballot request ends 8PM on Election Day
- Emergency ballot return deadline is Election Day
Contact your local election office
Local election office
Contact your local election office if you have questions.
Statewide election office
This is the statewide agency that is ultimately responsible for Pennsylvania elections. You can contact them with questions, but your local election office will probably respond faster.
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth 210 North Office Bldg. Harrisburg, PA 17120‐0029