Pa. primary election deadlines approaching, including vote-by-mail

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s primary election will be held two weeks from Tuesday, but you only have until this Monday to register if you want to vote.

For the first time, Pennsylvanians are being allowed to vote by mail and that’s encouraged, considering social distancing due to the Coronavirus pandemic will have many polling places consolidated on June 2. (Click here to find where you can vote in person, if you’re registered.) This election had been postponed from April 28.

The Department of State is encouraging citizens to use its Online Voter Registration (OVR) website to register for the first time or update an existing registration with a change of name, address or party affiliation. The deadline is Monday, May 18.

In order to vote, you must be a U.S. citizen for at least a month before the primary, live in the election district in which you register and vote for at least 30 days before the primary, and be at least 18 years old by primary day.

Click here to vote by mail-in ballot without having to give a reason, and also ask to be placed on a permanent mail-in voter list.

The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is next Tuesday, May 26. Mail-in and absentee ballots must be received by the county election office (Philadelphia’s) by 8pm on election day. (Click here for all Pennsylvania counties.)

Pennsylvania has closed primaries, so registered Democrats and Republicans will be able to choose their parties’ nominees for President, U.S. Representative, state Attorney General, Auditor General, state Treasurer, state Representative, state Senator in odd-numbered districts, and Delegate and Alternate Delegate to the national party conventions.

For those planning to vote in person, all 67 counties will be using more secure and accessible voting systems. Each will produce a paper record voters can verify before casting their ballot. Click here to see Philadelphia’s new voting system.

The state and counties are preparing to make sure polling places are safe for both voters and workers. The Department of State is asking voters to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines. (Click for the latest information from the state and from the city.)

It’ll also be providing 6,000 precinct protection kits — containing masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, equipment wipes and floor-marking tape — in addition to what counties are supplying.

The general election, including for president, will be held Nov. 3.


  1. The Committee of Seventy’s Voter Guide is a trusted source of nonpartisan information about the offices on every Pennsylvanian’s ballot, in addition to their rights and responsibilities as voters.
    Its BYOBallot platform lets you enter your address and build a customized ballot with your preferred candidates.

  2. Have you been getting more #emails in the months since the Coronavirus first came? Me too. It’s only necessary in business, or if the sender is thinking about the recipient — checking up, offering groceries, etc. But I’m not referring to that, in this blog post!

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