PA’s new mail-in voting option

Pennsylvania voters can now apply online to vote by mail-in ballot for the April 28 primary.
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Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar shared an announcement that Pennsylvania voters can now apply online to vote by mail-in ballot for the April 28 primary.

The deadline for receiving the applications is April 21 at 5 p.m.

“This is the first election in which Pennsylvania voters have the convenient option of voting by mail-in ballot without having to provide a reason for choosing it,” Secretary Boockvar said in a release.

Boockvar added, “Thanks to historic bipartisan legislation signed into law by Gov. Wolf last fall, we are making voting easier and more accessible for all eligible Pennsylvanians, including longer voter registration periods and permanent mail-in and absentee voter lists.”

If Pennsylvania voters can’t get to the polls on Election Day, there are a number of other opportunities for them to exercise their right to vote, due to Act 77. Voters can submit a mail-in ballot or an absentee ballot.

Pennsylvanians can also go the traditional route and vote in person at their county election offices.

Pa.gov breaks down the ballot information below:

— Mail-in ballots are for voters who simply wish to vote by mail, instead of going to their polling place on Election Day. They do not have to give a reason or excuse. They can apply online for a mail-in ballot, or download and print the application and mail it to their county election office. Voters can also apply for and vote the ballot in person at their county election office during business hours.

— Absentee ballots are for voters who will be away from their home municipality on Election Day or who have a disability or illness that prevents them from going to the polls. Absentee voters must give a reason. Examples of absentee ballot voters include college students away at school, members of the military, people absent from their home municipality because of work or a vacation, and people who cannot go to the polls because they are observing a religious holiday.

Mail-in or absentee voters can get a ballot in the mail to complete and will have to return it to their county election offices by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

The online application allows mail-in voters to request to be added to the annual mail-in voter ballot request list. This will let their mail-in ballot automatically be mailed to them year after year.

PA.gov reports that counties begin processing both the absentee and mail-in ballots 50 days prior to the election. For this year’s April primary, that is March 9.

Act 77 allows Pennsylvanians to register to vote for up to 15 days before an election. For the April 28 primary, the deadline for voter registration is April 13. For more information about voter registration, go to votespa.com.

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