Voters have week to apply for mail in ballot

HARRISBURG — Registered Pennsylvania voters have one week left to apply for a mail ballot for the May 18 primary election.

“Pennsylvanians still have time to apply online for a mail ballot or to apply in person at their county election office,” said Veronica W. Degraffenreid, acting secretary of state. “They can also vote early in person by applying for a mail ballot at their county election office, filling it out and returning it all in the same visit until 5 p.m. May 11.”

Degraffenreid urged voters who are voting by mail to submit their application as soon as possible, to allow sufficient time for their ballot to be mailed to them and then returned to the county by 8 p.m. May 18, Election Day.

So far, more than 706,900 Pennsylvania voters have applied for a mail-in ballot and more than 47,000 voters have applied for an absentee ballot.

Degraffenreid advised voters who plan to vote by mail ballot they can apply online or in person at their county election office. Mail ballot applications must be received by the county board of elections by 5 p.m. on May 11.

The deadline to vote early in person by mail ballot also is 5 p.m. May 11. Voters can go to their county election office, apply for a mail ballot, wait while an election official verifies their eligibility, and then vote and cast their ballot, all in one visit.

As soon as voters receive their mail ballot, they should:

¯ Read the instructions carefully.

¯ Fill out the ballot, being sure to follow instructions on how to mark selections.

¯ Seal the ballot in the inner secrecy envelope that indicates official ballot. Be careful not to make any stray marks on the envelope.

¯ Seal the inner secrecy envelope in the outer return envelope which the voter must sign and date.

¯ For the ballot to be counted, it must be enclosed in both envelopes and the voter must sign and date the outer envelope.

¯ Affix a postage stamp to the outer envelope before mailing.

Voted mail ballots must be received by county boards of elections by 8 p.m. on May 18, Election Day. Some counties are providing drop boxes or drop-off sites for mail ballots. Check the county website for information on locations. The Department of State is providing a list of drop-off locations at votesPA.com as the information becomes available.

Voters who provide an email address on their mail ballot application can check the status of their mail ballot at votesPA.com.

Pennsylvania voters also have the option of voting in person on Election Day at the polls, which will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., provided they have not already voted by mail ballot. They can find their polling place on votespa.com.

On May 18, voters who are registered as Republican or Democrat will choose their parties’ nominees for seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, county Common Pleas Courts, and Philadelphia Municipal Court.

Also on the party ballots will be a wide variety of county, school board, and local seats such as mayor, city or borough council member, township commissioner or supervisor, magisterial district judges, and precinct election officials.

All registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, will be eligible to vote on four ballot questions, including three proposed constitutional amendments. Two of the proposed constitutional amendments deal with disaster emergency declarations and the third relates to a prohibition against denying equal rights based on race or ethnicity. The fourth ballot question is a referendum on making municipal fire departments or companies with paid personnel and emergency medical services companies eligible for an existing state loan program.


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