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Vote by Mail in Pennsylvania

Voting by mail means you request and receive a ballot in the mail -- fill it out, and return it before or on election day. Remember: College students have the right to register to vote at the address they consider the place where they live -- whether that's their family's home or the place where they attend school. You may only be registered and vote in one location.

In Pennsylvania, you MUST be registered before you can request a ballot. There are two options for mail-in ballots:

  • Absentee ballot: If you plan to be out of the area on election day or if you have a disability or illness, you should request this ballot type, which requires you to list a reason why you're requesting an absentee ballot. 
  • Mail-in ballot: If you aren’t an absentee voter, you may apply for a mail-in ballot. Any voter registered in PA may request this type of ballot; you don’t need to have a reason. Students may find the mail-in ballot process to be easier to navigate than the absentee one.

Key Deadlines:

  • Nov 1: APPLICATIONS for mail-in ballots must be received.
  • Nov 8: Mail in BALLOTS must be received.

Interested in voting by mail, but not sure which options works for you? VotesPA offers additional explanation and resources on the types of mail ballots.

See Mail-In Voting Options in Pennsylvania

Note: You must have confirmation that you’re registered to vote in Pennsylvania BEFORE you request a mail-in or absentee ballot! 


Applying for a Mail-in or Absentee Ballot (deadline to apply November 1, 2022)

If you’re a registered PA voter with a valid PA Driver’s License or PennDOT ID number, you may apply for either an absentee or mail in ballot online or you may download a paper application, fill it out, sign it, and mail it to the Delaware County Board of Elections. Once approved, you’ll receive an email when the ballot is mailed to you.

Elections are run by the 67 County boards of elections in PA. For information on how to contact DELCO election and voter registration officials, choose from the map or pull down menu

Screenshot of video "Register to Vote in Pennsylvania"

See this short video by Lily Fournier '23 and Frannie Richardson ’23 for an animated look at how to register to vote in PA.


Completing a Mail-in Ballot 

After you've requested your mail-in ballot, you can track its status. Once you receive your mail-in ballot, the GOTV committee suggests completing and submitting it (either by mail or drop off) as soon as possible. Here are some tips to guide you:

  • Follow the instructions carefully. Pay close attention as errors and stray marks may lead to ballot rejection! 
  • Once you’ve filled out your mail-in ballot, place it in the secrecy envelope and then put the secrecy envelope into the official envelope. 
  • Sign on all lines that require a signature, including the declaration on the official envelope. If you don’t sign the declaration, your ballot may not count.
  • Properly seal your ballot according to the instructions.
  • Here’s a short step by step video to walk you through the process. 

Submitting a Mail-in Ballot (deadline to be received 11/8)

Ballots can be submitted: 

  • By mail: The official mail-in ballot and absentee ballot return envelope is self-addressed and postage-paid, requiring no additional steps or costs to mail it using the United States Postal Service. Simply place the envelope in your typical mail pickup repository, any USPS drop box (aka, a blue box), or bring it to a USPS Post Office for processing.
  • At a drop box: Mail-in ballots and absentee ballots can be returned to the Delaware County Bureau of Elections through any Delaware County ballot drop box. 
  • In person: Mail-in ballots and absentee ballots can be returned to the Delaware County Bureau of Elections at any Delaware County Voter Service Center.  

 Vote by Mail Deadlines

Applications for mail-in or absentee ballots must be received by the County Election Office by 5 pm on Tuesday, November 1, 2022. (Heads Up: This doesn’t allow for an abundance of time to receive, complete and submit a ballot.) 

Pennsylvania mail-in ballots can be returned two ways: #1 by mail or #2 in person to the Delaware County Election Office or other official designated location (such as a ballot drop box) by 8:00pm on election day, Tuesday, November 8. If you mail-in your ballot, it must be received by 8:00pm on election day, Tuesday, November 8.