PA Primaries are on April 28 - Register to vote!

UPDATED 3/13/2020: VOTING DURING CORONAVIRUS!

The League of Women Voters has published a list of actions that can help you vote during the coronavirus. Please take a look as we all continue to adapt to social distancing.

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PA primary elections are on April 28, 2020!

If you live in Pennsylvania and are eligible to vote, you need to be registered by April 13, 2020. (If you live in another state, please visit 866-OUR-VOTE to find your state's information.)

***If you have any issues on Election Day, please call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.  Be sure to bring this number with you when you vote!***


NEW THIS YEAR: Mail-In Ballots, Extended Voter Registration Period, and More

Pennsylvania made some changes to election law on October 29, 2019.

  • Mail-in ballots: PA voters may choose to mail their ballot instead of voting in person. You do not need a reason to apply for a mail-in ballot. If you choose to vote by mail-in ballot, your application must be received by your county election office by 5 PM on April 21, 2020. You can choose to vote by mail one time or be added to a permanent mail-in voter list. Learn more here
  • Voter registration deadline: The deadline to register to vote is now 15 days before an election. 
  • Absentee ballot changes: People voting by regular absentee ballot now have until 8 PM on Election Day to return their ballot. Also, if you have a permanent disability, you may ask to be added to a permanent absentee ballot list. Read more here.
  • No straight-party voting: There is no longer a shortcut to vote for all candidates of a party with one button. You must select each candidate individually.
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Who is running for office?

On April 28, you can vote for primary candidates to run for President, PA Attorney General, PA Treasurer, Congress, and the state legislature. There may be local races, special elections, and ballot questions. You may be able to find a sample ballot at Ballotpedia.


Will I need Voter ID?

IN MOST CASES, YOU WILL NOT NEED IDENTIFICATION TO VOTE IN THE PENNSYLVANIA ELECTIONS. Only first-time voters, voters using a new polling place, and voters using absentee or mail-in ballots will need to provide ID.

If you are a first-time voter or at a new polling place, visit the PA Department of State voting website for a list of acceptable ids. Acceptable forms of identification for absentee and mail-in voters are available here.


Can I register to vote?

To vote in Pennsylvania, you must be:
  • a US citizen for at least one month before the election
  • a PA resident 
  • a resident of the election district for at least 30 days before the election
  • at least 18 years old on or before the election. (If you will turn 18 on or before the election, you can register now!)
In Pennsylvania, you can vote even if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony - see VotesPA.org for details.

To vote in the primaries, you must also be registered and enrolled in a political party to vote in that primary. All registered voters can vote on Constitutional amendments, ballot questions, or special elections if they are occurring during the primary election.

For more information, please visit VotesPA.org.


Do I need to register to vote?

In Pennsylvania, voters must be registered 15 days before each election. If you are not sure if you are registered, you can check your registration in the Pennsylvania voter registration database.

If you are not registered, please register today. In Pennsylvania, you can now register to vote online, by mail. in person, or at some government agencies.

In the primaries, Pennsylvanians can only vote for members of their own political party. Please keep that in mind as you register and prepare for voting. Please note - in the November General Election you can vote for any candidate regardless of their party or your party.


What if I can't get to the polling place on Election Day?

If you can't make it to your polling place in person on Election Day, you may be able to vote by absentee ballot or mail-in ballot. You must already be registered to vote in Pennsylvania. Learn more about the process and download your application here.

  • Absentee: You may apply for an absentee ballot if you are a college student registered at home, if you are away from your home on Election Day, if you have a disability or illness that prevents you from getting to the polls, if you are in the military, if you have a conflict due to a religious holiday, or if you are an inmate who has not been convicted of a felony.
    You must request an absentee ballot by 5 PM on the Tuesday before the election. In certain emergency cases (such as unexpected illness or disability), you can submit an emergency application for an absentee ballot.
    You will need approved identification to vote absentee.
  • Mail-in ballot: You may apply for a mail-in ballot if you are not an absentee voter. You do not need a reason to apply.
    You must request a mail-in ballot by 5 PM on the Tuesday before the election.
    You will need approved identification to vote by mail-in ballot.

Where and when do I vote in person?

Here is an online tool to help find your polling place. In Pennsylvania, the polls are open from 7 AM to 8 PM. This tool should also tell you how accessible the polling place is. There is more information on accessible voting here.


How do I use the voting machines or ballots?

You can find a demo of the voting machines or ballots used at your polling station here.


What should I bring with me?

If you are a first-time voter or if you are voting at a new polling place, you should bring an approved form of identification. To see all approved forms, visit the PA Department of State voting website.

All voters may bring a list of candidates on the ballot and/or a list of key issues or specific proposals that are on the ballot. This 2019 article from Billy Penn has more information on what you can bring and do at the polls.

If you have any issues on Election Day, please call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Be sure to bring this number with you to the polls! You can also report election complaints here.


What are my rights as a voter?

Pennsylvania laws protect voters from discrimination, protect voters from being told how to vote, require election information in Spanish in some counties, ensure that people with a disability can vote independently and privately, and establish rights for people in jail or who have been convicted of a crime. Read more here.


What if I have problems voting?

If your name is not in the books at the polling place, or if you have any problems voting:

  • Work with the Election officials to make sure you are at the right polling place.
  • If you are at the right polling place but listed as "inactive," you may need to sign an affirmation. See page 20 of this guide.
  • If you are at the right polling place but your name is not on the books, you can vote by provisional ballot. The Board of Elections will examine the provisional ballots within seven days and will count the votes if you were properly registered and voting at the correct polling place. 
  • If you are having problems and are at the correct polling place, do not leave without casting a provisional ballot.


If you have any issues on Election Day, please call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Be sure to bring this number with you to the polls! You can also report election complaints here.

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