As Pennsylvania continues mitigation efforts to fight COVID-19, Governor Tom Wolf is encouraging registered voters to apply for a mail-in ballot for the June 2 primary election.
“There is no more important civic duty than voting, but we also want to make sure that every primary voter can cast their vote safely,” said Governor Wolf. “This election is the first time that voters have the option to vote by mail-in ballot and I encourage every Pennsylvania voter to visit votesPA.com to conveniently update their registration or apply for a mail-in ballot.”
The Department of State is also reaching out to the voters to vote by mail in ballot or absentee if needed.
The state is also doing some voter education out reaches which includes:
- A public awareness campaign on radio, television and multiple digital platforms including social channels, streaming services and mobile apps.
- Mailing 4.2 million postcards and sending weekly emails to registered voters regarding the new primary date and mail-in ballot option, along with important deadlines.
- Outreach to stakeholders to help spread the word.
The new deadline to register to vote or update a voter registration for the primary is May 18, 2020
Registered voters can apply online for a mail-in or absentee ballot at votespa.com. The deadline is 5 p.m., May 26, 2020.
Step one: Make sure you’re eligible to vote.
- Are you a U.S. citizen, or will you have been a U.S. citizen for at least 30 days before the primary election?
- Will you have been a resident for at least 30 days of the Pennsylvania election district in which you want to register?
- Will you be at least 18 years old on the day of the primary election?
If you answered yes to all three, great! You’re qualified to vote and you can move to step 3.
If you could not answer yes to all three, move on to step 2.
Step two: If you are not registered to vote you will need to Complete an online voter application.
The deadline to register to vote is May 18, 2020.
You must be a registered voter to request an absentee or mail-in ballot, so use Voter Change Form. You can use the same form to change your voting information, if you need to.
You can also register to vote via mail by filling out the Voter Registration Form and mailing it to your county Board of Elections office at 204 Fourth Ave., Warren, PA 16365
Step three: Once you’re registered to vote, request an absentee or mail-in ballot.
You can do so by completing the Main-In or Absentee Ballot Application as long as you’re a voter with a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT ID number. The form shouldn’t take more than five minutes to fill out and will request contact information in the event that there are questions about your application. (You don’t have to fill that part out if you don’t want to.)
Here’s the difference between absentee voting and mail-in voting, which is important to know for your purposes:
- Absentee voting: This applies to you specifically if you plan to be out of the municipality where you are registered to vote on election day — or if you have a disability or illness that prevents you from getting to the polls. You’ll need to list a reason for requesting an absentee ballot.
- Mail-in ballot: If you’re not an absentee voter, you can vote by mail. You don’t need a reason to request this ballot. You can get one simply because you want to mail in your vote to ensure you don’t need to go to the polls on voting day.
If you’re a military or overseas voter, you must apply for an absentee ballot using the federal form at www.votespa.com. You’ll have to mail it to your election office at 204 Fourth Avenue, Warren, PA 16365.
Step four: Wait for your request to be accepted, then vote by mail.
If you fill out the online application, you will receive an application number. Hold onto that number, and take a photo of — or print out — your confirmation page for your records.
You’ll also have the option to request to be added to an annual mail-in ballot request list. This will ensure that you receive an application to renew your mail-in ballot request each year. When your application is approved, you’ll receive ballots for elections held during the remainder of the year you applied.
But first: Your application isn’t considered complete until your county election office processes and accepts it. When that happens, your balloting materials will be mailed when the ballot is available. You’ll receive an update via email if you provided an email address (and you’ll have another chance to provide one on the confirmation page).
If you lose your mail-in ballot, you can still vote at the polls. But if you send in your mail-in ballot and it’s received by the voting deadline, you will not be allowed to vote at your polling place.
Finally, so you’re aware: Your ballot must be completed and must be received in the county office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. If it’s late, it won’t be accepted, even if you sent it before the deadline. Try to send it as early as possible to ensure your vote is counted.
If you have any remaining questions about applying for absentee voting or a mail-in ballot, contact your elections office. If you live in Warren County, you can reach the county elections office by calling 814-728-3406.