HARRISBURG, PA — Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar is reminding Pennsylvania voters that they may receive a mail ballot because they opted to be put on the annual mail ballot list when they applied for a mail ballot for the June primary. When voters choose to be added to the annual mail ballot list, they automatically will receive a ballot for all elections in that calendar year.
“We understand that some voters are receiving a mail ballot for the general election when they do not remember applying for one,” said Secretary of State Boockvar. “Pennsylvania is not a state that automatically sends mail ballots to voters. Voters must apply for the ballot for it to be sent to them, and their eligibility and identification is confirmed through that process. Act 77 also created a new option, however, that allows voters to sign up annually to automatically receive mail ballots for all elections that year, and more than a million Pennsylvanians have signed up for this option.”
If a Pennsylvania voter receives a mail ballot now, it is either because they checked the annual ballot request checkbox when they applied for a primary mail ballot, or because they applied for a mail ballot since the primary. Voters who want to verify whether they applied to be annual mail ballot voters can contact their county election office.
Voters who have received a mail ballot have several options for how to cast their voted ballot. They can:
- Return it via mail to their county election office. Voters should make sure that they first enclose their ballot in the white inner secrecy envelope and seal it, then insert the inner envelope into the outer pre-printed return envelope, and sign and complete the voter’s declaration on the outer envelope. Voters must complete these two steps for their ballots to be counted. Ballots must be returned or postmarked by election day, Tuesday, November 3, and received by the county election office by 5 p.m., Friday, November 6, in order to be counted.
- Return it in-person to their county election office or other designated location. Be sure to read the instructions on the ballot, seal the ballot in both envelopes and sign the declaration as outlined above. Voters must return their mail ballots to their county election office or other designated location by 8 p.m. on election day, Tuesday, November 3.
There is also a new option for voters who have changed their mind and wish to vote in person on Election Day. Voters who receive a mail ballot but wish to vote in person at their polling place on election day should bring their ballot, including the outer return envelope where the voter signs, to their polling place. After they surrender their mail ballot and envelope to the poll worker and sign a declaration, they will be able to vote on their county’s voting system. If the voter forgets to bring their ballot and envelopes to the polling place, they may still vote by provisional ballot at their polling place.
“Pennsylvanians have more safe and secure options for casting their ballot than ever before,” said Secretary Boockvar. “Whichever option you choose, make sure that you cast your ballot on or before Nov. 3.”
For more information on voting and elections in Pennsylvania, call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit votesPA.com.
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