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April 22, 2024 3:15 pm

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Voter registration, mail-in voting: Pennsylvania deadlines to know ahead of the April 23 primary

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Capital-Star Staff, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
March 22, 2024

Pennsylvania’s primary election is a month away, and there are several deadlines voters should know.

Candidates for President, U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, attorney general, auditor general, treasurer and legislative seats are on the ballot. Voters will choose their party’s nominees in crowded races that could decide which party controls the White House, the U.S. Senate, and statewide row offices.

There’s also a special election in the 139th state House district slated for April 23, to replace former state Rep. Joe Adams. He resigned from the seat, which covers parts of Wayne and Pike counties, in February.

Here’s what you need to know before casting your vote:

Am I eligible to vote?

To vote in Pennsylvania, you must be at least 18 years old and live in the commonwealth.

In Pennsylvania, you can only vote for candidates who share your party affiliation during primary elections. This means that if you’re a registered Democrat, you can only vote in the Democratic primary — not the Republican contest. Despite recent efforts to open the state’s primaries to all registered voters, independent or unaffiliated voters are not eligible to vote in the primary.

How do I register to vote?

There are four ways to register to vote — online, by U.S. mail, in-person, or at a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation photo or driver’s license center.

To register online, visit vote.pa.gov, where you’ll be asked to complete a registration application form. You’ll need your driver’s license or PennDOT ID card, but if you don’t have one, you may upload a signature or print and sign the form.

The Pennsylvania voter registration application can be downloaded online to register by mail. Print the form, fill it out, sign it, and send it to your county voter registration office.

Voter registration can also be completed in person at your county voter registration office or at some government agencies, such as a PennDOT Photo License and Driver’s License Center.

The voter application can also be completed at many state government offices, including:

  • State offices that provide public assistance and services to people 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 offices
  • Student disability services offices of the State System of Higher Education
  • Offices of special education ADA complementary paratransit offices

Once you submit your application, it will be sent to your local voter registration office for review and processing.

When is the deadline to register to vote?

The last day to register to vote before the primary election is April 8.

How do I check or update my voter registration?

To check your voter registration, use the voter registration status form at pavoterservices.pa.gov/pages/voterregistrationstatus.aspx. You may also contact your local elections office, or call 1-877-VOTESPA.

If you are registered to vote, you don’t have to register again in Pennsylvania unless you move or change your address, change your name, or want to change your party affiliation.

To make changes, fill out the voter registration application form and check the correct box at the top of the form.

What is the difference between an absentee and a mail-in ballot?

In Pennsylvania, there are two ballot options to vote by mail: Mail-in  and absentee ballots.  Any qualified voter may apply for a mail-in ballot without a reason.

Absentee ballots are available to those who will be out of their local municipality on Election Day or those who have a disability or illness that prevents them from voting in person.

How do I apply for an absentee or mail-in ballot?

Voters may still apply for a mail-in ballot ahead of the primary election. To apply, visit pavoterservices.pa.gov/OnlineAbsenteeApplication/#/OnlineAbsenteeBegin.

When is the deadline to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot?

All applications must be received by your county elections board by 5 p.m. April 16.

Pennsylvania’s primary election is April 23.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.