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To submit an application for an absentee or mail-in ballot, you must provide identification including a Pennsylvania driver's license number or PennDOT photo ID card number. A voter without one of those may provide the last four digits of their Social Security number. If a voter does not have any of those forms of ID, they will need to include a photocopy of a current and valid ID that includes their name, photo, and an expiration date with their application. Examples of these IDs include: U.S. Passport; U.S. Military ID (active duty and retired military ID may designate an expiration date that is indefinite). Military dependents' ID must contain a current expiration date; employee photo identification issued by Federal, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania county, or Pennsylvania municipal government; photo identification issued by an accredited Pennsylvania public or private institution of higher learning; or photo identification issued by a Pennsylvania care facility, including long-term care facilities, assisted living residences and personal care homes. To have your absentee or mail-in ballot counted, you must seal the inner secrecy envelope and be sure to sign and date the voter's declaration on the outer return envelope.
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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Department of Health

Pennsylvania absentee ballot deadlines

Request deadlines

  • In Person: Received 7 days before Election Day.
  • By Mail: Received 7 days before Election Day.
  • Online: Received by 5pm on the first Tuesday before Election Day.

Ballot deadlines

  • Voted ballots are due: Received by 8pm on Election Day.

Pennsylvania absentee ballot rules

Pennsylvania voters have different options to vote by mail including absentee and mail-in ballot.

Any qualified voter may apply for a mail-in ballot. You may simply request a mail-in ballot without a reason.

Alternatively, a voter may also request an absentee ballot in Pennsylvania if the voter is:

  • A college student who is not registered to vote at their school address. 
  • Serving in the US military or the spouse or dependent of someone serving in the US military who expects to be absent on Election Day.
  • A member of a religious or welfare group attached to and serving with the armed forces or the spouse or a dependent resident with or accompanying them, who expect to be absent on election day.
  • A member of the Merchant Marine or the spouse or dependent resident with or accompanying a Merchant Marine, who expects to be absent on Election Day.
  • Unable to attend your polling place or operate a voting machine and obtain assistance by distinct and audible statements because of illness or physical disability.
  • Will not attend a polling place on Election Day because of observance of a religious holiday.
  • A county employee who expects your Election Day duties will prevent you from voting.
  • A qualified war veteran who is bedridden or hospitalized due to illness or physical disability and is unable to attend their polling place because of such illness of physical disability.
  • 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 them to be absent. 
  • An inmate who has not been convicted of a felony. 

Pennsylvania absentee ballot directions

  1. Use our Absentee Ballot Tool to prepare your application.
  2. Sign and date the form. This is very important!
  3. Return your completed application to your Local Election Office as soon as possible. We'll provide the mailing address for you.
  4. All Local Election Offices will accept mailed or hand-delivered forms. If it's close to the deadline, call and see if your Local Election Office will let you fax or email the application.
  5. Double-check the deadlines and be sure to cast your voted ballot on time to be sure it is counted.
  6. Please contact your Local Election Office if you have any further questions about the exact process.

Tracking your ballot

You can track your ballot directly with your state.

Once you receive your ballot...

  1. Once you receive the ballot, carefully read and follow the instructions.
  2. Sign and date where indicated.
  3. Mail your voted ballot back to the address indicated on the return envelope.
  4. Double-check the deadlines and be sure to cast your voted ballot on time to be sure it is counted.