Most Pennsylvania voters know that 2020 is an important election year. What you may not know is that there are BIG changes to our election laws that will make your voting experience different this year. Here’s what you need to know to be an informed and prepared voter in 2020.
Some important changes to Pennsylvania election laws were passed in 2019. These changes include:
- Extended deadlines for voter registration
- A NEW option to vote by mail-in ballot
- An end to straight-party voting
- Extended deadlines to return your mail-in ballot
Visit VotesPA.com/readytovote to learn more.
You now have more time to register to vote. The deadline to register for the June 2nd primary election is May 18, 2020, and the deadline to register for the November general election is October 19, 2020. Keep in mind that you must submit a voter registration application to update your address, change your party affiliation, or change your name.
- Check your voter registration status at VotesPA.com/status.
- Register or update your information at VotesPA.com/register.
Vote by Mail-in Ballot
If you are a registered voter in Pennsylvania, you have a new option to vote by mail-in ballot. This is a great option for voters who prefer the convenience of voting at home. You do not have to provide a reason for requesting a mail-in ballot.
If you decide to vote by mail-in ballot, keep in mind:
- You must apply for a ballot by 5:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before the election.
- You can apply using an online application at votesPA.com/ApplyMailBallot, by mailing in a paper application, or by submitting a paper application in person at the county election office.
- When you apply in person, you can ask for your ballot immediately. If the ballot is available, you can complete it in the office and return it to the county election staff.
- You can return your completed ballot by mail or in person at your county election office.
- The county must receive your completed ballot by 8:00 pm on election day in order to count it.
It’s important to know your vote is final once your county receives your voted mail-in ballot, and you are not allowed to go to the polling place to change your vote on election day. If you do not return your voted ballot to your county election office by 8:00 p.m. on election day, you can vote by provisional ballot at your polling place.
When you apply for a mail-in ballot, you can ask to have the ballots for every election that year mailed to you. Simply check the box for “annual mail-in request.”
Learn more about mail-in voting at VotesPA.com/mailballot.
No straight-party voting
You no longer have the option to check just one box to vote for all the candidates of one political party. You can still select all candidates from one party, but you must select them individually in each contest.
New Voting Systems
If you vote in person on election day, you may use new voting equipment for the first time. These new systems provide a paper record to ensure accuracy, and you will have the opportunity to confirm your choices on a paper record before casting your vote. Plus, the new systems are easy to use and have accessible features to make voting easy and convenient for voters with disabilities.
Go to VotesPA.com/readytovote to explore your county’s voting system. Do your part by being a prepared voter before you head to your polling place. This will help things run smoothly on election day.
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