Deadline to Register to Vote in May 18 Primary Fast Approaching

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HARRISBURG, PA — Acting Secretary of State Veronica W. Degraffenreid is reminding eligible Pennsylvanians that the deadline to register to vote in the May 18 primary is just two weeks away.

Voting by mail in the upcoming election remains extremely popular with voters. More than 638,000 Pennsylvanians already have applied for a mail-in ballot and more than 25,000 Pennsylvanians have applied for an absentee ballot. Mail-in and absentee ballot application forms must be received by your county election board by 5 p.m. on May 11, 2021.

“I encourage all eligible Pennsylvanians to make sure they are registered to vote by the May 3 deadline so they can participate in the municipal primary,” Secretary Degraffenreid said. “Voters will be nominating their party’s candidates for local government positions, school board and the judiciary.”

Pennsylvania law requires a closed primary, meaning only voters registered as Democrats or Republicans will select nominees to represent their party in the general municipal election on November 2.

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However, all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, will be able to vote on four ballot questions – including three proposed constitutional amendments. Additionally,  there will be special elections in two state Senate districts and two state House districts and all registered voters in those districts will be able to vote for their new state senator or House representative.

Pennsylvanians can register to vote and check their registration status online. Or they can download and print a registration form and mail it to their county election board. Applicants using the online voter registration system must complete and submit their application by 11:59 p.m. on May 3 to vote in the primary. Traditional paper voter registration forms must be received in county voter registration offices by close of business on May 3.

Individuals wishing to register to vote in the May 18 primary must be:

  • A citizen of the United States for at least one month before the primary.
  • A resident of Pennsylvania and of the election district in which the individual plans to register and vote for at least 30 days before the primary.
  • At least 18 years of age on or before the date of the primary.
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Registered voters have three options for voting in the primary:

  • They can vote by mail. They have until 5 p.m. May 11 to apply for a mail ballot through their county election board. Applications must be received in the county election office by 5 p.m. on May 11 and voted mail ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on May 18, Election Day.
  • They can vote early in person by mail ballot at their county election office, once their county’s ballots are available, until May 11. They can request a mail ballot, fill it out and return it on the spot.
  • They can vote at the polls on Election Day. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“Now is the time to make sure you are registered to vote, and your registration information is current,” Secretary Degraffenreid said. “We want every eligible Pennsylvanian to be able to exercise their right to vote on May 18.”

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For more information on voting and elections, call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit

The website offers printable voter registration applicationsearly in-person voting information, a polling place locatorcounty boards of elections contact information, and tips for first-time voters and military and overseas voters.

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