The deadline to register to vote for the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 19, and the deadline to apply for a mail ballot is 5 p.m. Oct. 27.
“All eligible Pennsylvanians still have time to exercise their right to vote and make their voice heard,” said Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar. “Pennsylvanians can quickly and conveniently register to vote, check the status of their registration and apply for a mail ballot online at VotesPA.com.”
The state’s online voter registration application can be found at register.votesPA.com. In addition to applying for a new registration, the OVR system can also be used to update an existing voter record with new information, such as a change of name, address or party affiliation.
Individuals wishing to register to vote in the Nov. 3 election must be:
– A citizen of the United States for at least one month before the election
– A resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which the individual wants to register and vote for at least 30 days before the election
– At least 18 years of age on or before the date of the election
Voters are encouraged to use the online system to confirm their registration status prior to the deadline. The site provides county election office contact information and a polling place locator.
Voters wishing to vote by mail should apply for their ballot immediately so they will have time to return it before the deadline. Once their application is verified, their county election office will mail them a ballot.
As soon as the voter receives the 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 the official ballot; make sure not to make any stray marks on the envelope
– 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
The voter should then return their voted ballot to their county board of elections as soon as possible.
– Voters can mail their ballot; mailed ballots must be postmarked by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, and received by the county election office by 5 p.m. Nov. 6; the Department of State is providing pre-paid postage on mail ballot return envelopes
– Voters can also hand-deliver their ballot to their county election office or officially-designated satellite office; hand-delivered ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on election day; some counties are providing drop boxes or drop-off sites for mail ballots; check your county’s website for information on locations; the Department of State is providing a list of drop-off locations as the information becomes available – check votesPA.com in the coming weeks
Voters who provide an email address on their mail ballot application can check the status of their mail ballot at votesPA.com.
The deadline to vote early in person by mail ballot is Oct. 27. Voters can go to their county election office or designated satellite location, apply for a mail ballot, wait while an election official verifies their eligibility, and then vote and cast their ballot, all in one visit.
Pennsylvania voters also have the option of voting in person on election day at the polls, which will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., provided they have not already voted by mail ballot. They should wear a mask, bring their own blue or black ink pen, and follow social distancing guidelines.
The Department of State is supplying counties with masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, floor marking tape and other supplies for polling places so Pennsylvanians can safely exercise their right to vote during the COVID-19 emergency.
On Nov. 3, Pennsylvania voters will elect the President and Vice President of the United States; U.S. Representatives; the State Attorney General, Auditor General and Treasurer; State Representatives; and State Senators in odd-numbered districts.
“Whichever of the three options you choose – voting by mail, early in person by mail ballot or at the polls on election day – the important thing is to get out and vote,” said Boockvar.
VotesPA.com also offers printable voter registration applications and tips for first-time voters. Call the department’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-868-3772 for more information.