Your Guide to Vote By Mail in the 2020 PA General Primary

Your Guide to Vote By Mail in the 2020 PA General Primary

In just a few short weeks, on June 2, residents across the commonwealth will be exercising their civic duty by voting in the primary election. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many polling places may be closed and consolidated with others, leading to long lines. 

To protect yourself and fellow neighbors, all registered PA voters are now eligible to vote by mail-in ballot this year. The voter registration deadline is May 18 and the deadline to apply for mail-in and absentee ballots is May 26 at 5:00 p.m. In less than five minutes and a few clicks, you can be registered to vote in the 2020 primary election! 

What is the Difference between a Mail-in and Absentee Ballot? 

Absentee ballots require voters to list a reason why they need an absentee ballot. Those include:

  • College students who are not registered to vote at their school address
  • People whose work or vacation take them away from the municipality where they live
  • Those with a physical disability or illness that prevents them from going to the polling place
  • Military members 
  • People who may have a conflict due to the celebration of a religious holiday
  • Inmates who haven’t been convicted of a felony

In previous elections, this was the only way to vote-by-mail. Due to COVID-19’s impact, new election laws allow any registered voter to cast their vote safely and securely by mail. 

How to Register for Absentee or Mail-In Ballots

  1. Register to Vote: please note you must be registered to vote by May 18 in order to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot. 
    • If you are not a U.S. citizen and a resident of Pennsylvania at least 30 days before the next election, you CANNOT register to vote.
    • You can register online or by mailing in a paper application to Chester County Voter Services. Please visit PA Voter Services to learn more. 
    • Need to update your registration? To change your name, address, or party, you must fill out and return the online or mailed application by May 18. 
    • Not sure if you’ve registered before? Check your voter registration status here.
  1. Fill out the Mail-In or Absentee Ballot Application Online or By Mail: Please note, in order to vote by an absentee or mail-in ballot in the 2020 general primary held on Tuesday, June 2, your completed application must be received in the county office by 5:00 p.m. on May 26. 
    • Online: If you have a valid PA Driver’s License or PennDOT ID number, you may apply for a ballot here
    • By Mail: 
      • Download a Paper Application: If you do not have one of these ID numbers, you will need to download a paper application and mail it to Chester County Voter Services, 601 Westtown Rd, Suite 150, West Chester, PA 19380. 
      • Request a Paper Application: Please call voter services at 610-344-6410 between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., Monday – Friday.
  2. Fill out your ballot and return it to Chester County Voter Services. The deadline to return your voted absentee or mail-in ballot is 8:00 p.m. on June 2.
  3. You can track your application status or status of your voted ballot through Votes PA.  

Due to COVID-19, Chester County Voter Services’ office is currently closed and has limited hours for calls. Have questions? Please visit Votes PA, the Chester County Voter Services website, send us a message, or call 1.877.VOTESPA (1.877.868.3772). 

Your voice matters and will help shape Chester County’s future. Be heard by voting in the Pennsylvania General Primary on June 2!

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