Pennsylvanians Encouraged to Request Absentee Ballots Early

HARRISBURG – Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés has encouraged Pennsylvanians to submit requests for primary election absentee ballots before the deadline of May 9.

Under the state election code, applications for absentee ballots must be submitted no later than one week before Election Day. For this year’s May 16 primary election, the deadline falls on Tuesday, May 9.

Absentee voters must return their voted ballot to their county election office by Friday, May 12.

“The statutory deadlines have become increasingly unrealistic due to changes in service by the U.S. Postal Service,” Cortés said. “Anyone who is planning to return the completed absentee ballot by mail risks missing the deadline.”

Completed ballots must be received in county elections offices by 5 p.m. the Friday before the election. A timely postmark is not sufficient.

“Absentee balloting allows eligible Pennsylvanians to exercise their right to vote even if they are unable to go to the polls on Election Day,” Cortés said. “By requesting and returning an absentee ballot well before the deadline, the voter ensures that his or her votes will be fully counted.”

Absentee ballots may be cast by deployed members of the military, Pennsylvania students attending out-of-state colleges or universities, individuals with illnesses or disabilities and individuals who will be away from their municipality on business on Election Day. 

Comprehensive information about absentee ballots, including a downloadable request form, can be found at the Department of State’s Web site votesPA.com

Applicants will be asked to supply basic voter registration information and to specify a reason for applying to vote absentee.

Pennsylvanians applying for an absentee ballot must provide their driver’s license or PennDOT ID number. If they do not have a driver’s license or PennDOT ID, they must give the last four digits of their Social Security number.

If a voter has neither, he or she must present a copy of an acceptable photo ID. A list of approved alternative types of identification is available at votesPA.com.

Once an absentee ballot has been completed, voters may return them by mail or deliver them in person to county election offices.

An absentee voter can designate someone else to deliver the absentee application and ballot if he or she is physically unable to do so. Certification of Designated Agent forms is also available online.

For additional information, call 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit votesPA.com

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