Voting in Pennsylvania
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To vote in Pennsylvania, you must meet the following requirements:
- A citizen of the United States for at least one month before the next primary, special, municipal, or general election.
- A resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which you want to register and vote for at least 30 days before the next primary, special, municipal, or general election.
- At least 18 years of age on or before the day of the next primary, special, municipal, or general election.
When and where
The deadline for registering to vote is 28 days before an election. Registration can be done in person or by mail. There are two ways to register by mail:
- Get a Voter Registration Mail Application form from the state or federal government. The Secretary of the Commonwealth and all county registration commissions supply Voter Registration Mail Applications to all persons and organizations who request them, including candidates, political parties and political bodies and other federal, state and municipal offices.
- Download the Voter Registration Application. Print, complete, sign and deliver to your County Voter Registration Office by mail or in person.
The following are all locations where you can register in person:
- A County Voter Registration Office or Department of Transportation
- State offices that provide public assistance and services to persons with disabilities
- Armed Forces Recruitment Centers
- County Clerk of Orphans' Court offices, including each Marriage License Bureau
- Area Agencies on Aging
- Centers for Independent Living
- County Mental Health and Mental Retardation offices
- Student disability services offices of the State System of Higher Education
- Offices of Special Education
- DA Complementary Paratransit offices
As of October 2014, Pennsylvania is one of the 35 states that have not implemented online voter registration. Pennsylvania has a bill pending in the 2013 legislative session which would authorize online voter registration. On April 17, 2013, the Pennsylvania State Senate passed the bill. It now moves to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Voting on election day
- See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times
- See also: Absentee voting
A voter is eligible to vote absentee in an election if he or she cannot make it to the polls on election day for one of the following reasons:
- A person who is or may be in the military service of the United States, regardless of whether at the time of voting the person is present in the election district of residence or in the Commonwealth and regardless of whether he or she is registered to vote.
- A spouse or dependent residing with or accompanying a person in the military service of the United States and who expects on Election Day to be absent from his or her municipality of residence during the entire period in which the polling places are open for voting (7 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
- A member of the Merchant Marine and his/her spouse and dependents residing with or accompanying the Merchant Marine, who 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 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
- A member of a religious or welfare group attached to and serving with the armed forces and his/her spouse and dependents residing with or accompanying him or her, who 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 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
- An individual who, because of the elector's duties, occupation or business (including attendance of college in another county/state, leaves of absence for teaching, vacations and sabbatical leaves), expects on Election Day to be absent from his/her municipality of residence during the entire period the polls are open for voting and the spouse and dependents of such electors who are residing with or accompanying the elector and for that reason also expect to be absent from his/her municipality during the entire period the polls are open for voting (7 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
- A qualified war veteran elector who is bedridden or hospitalized due to illness or physical disability if the elector is absent from the municipality of his residence and unable to attend his/her polling place because of such illness or disability, regardless of whether the elector is registered to vote.
- A person who, because of illness or physical disability, is unable to attend his/her polling place or to operate a voting machine and obtain assistance by distinct and audible statements. (Note: A disabled elector may be placed on a permanently disabled absentee file.)
- A spouse or dependent accompanying a person employed by the Commonwealth or the Federal Government, in the event that the employee's duties, occupation or business on Election Day require him/her to be absent from the Commonwealth or the municipality of residence during the entire period the polls are open for voting (7 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
- A county employee who expects that his Election Day duties relating to the conduct of the election will prevent the employee from voting.
- A person who will not attend a polling place on Election Day because of the observance of a religious holiday.
A request to vote by absentee ballot must be received no later than 5 p.m. on the Tuesday before the election. Completed non-emergency absentee ballots must be received by 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day. In presidential election years, absentee ballots received after the state deadline but by the time polls close on Election Day will be counted for the offices of president and vice president.
Military and overseas voting
For full details, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program here.
Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Corbett gave an executive order, extending the deadline for receipt of completed absentee ballots by the county Board of Elections to 5 p.m. on November 5, 2012. The extension applied to those counties where the Board of Elections was closed due to Hurricane Sandy.
- See also: Early voting
Pennsylvania is one of seven states that do not have any form of early voting.
- VotesPA, "How to Register," accessed June 10, 2014
- CBS, "Bill To Allow For On-Line Voter Registration In Pennsylvania Clears The State Senate," April 17, 2013
- Open States, "SB37," accessed June 10, 2014
- MSNBC, "Pennsylvania governor won't challenge ruling striking down voter ID law," May 8, 2014
- VotesPA, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed January 3, 2014
- National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
- Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
- Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013 through January 3, 2014 researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
- VotesPA, "Voting by Absentee Ballot," accessed December 16, 2013
- The Times Herald,, "Gov. Tom Corbett gives executive order to extend completed absentee ballots," November 1, 2012
- National Conference of State Legislatures "Absentee and Early Voting," accessed December 16, 2013