Pennsylvania’s New Online Absentee Ballot Application Launches Today
September 16, 2019
Harrisburg, PA – Beginning today, Pennsylvania voters have a new option to apply online for their absentee ballot, Governor Tom Wolf announced. The mobile-friendly application site is at votesPA.com/ApplyAbsentee. Voters who apply will receive their absentee ballot in the mail.
Previously, voters could only complete a paper absentee ballot application and mail or hand-deliver it to their county election office for processing. Today’s launch of the online option coincides with the first day registered voters may apply for absentee ballots for the November 5 election.
“Giving voters the option to apply for an absentee ballot online is another important step to make voting more accessible,” said Governor Wolf. “Pennsylvanians have busy lives, so we must continue to modernize our elections and make voting more convenient for people.”
In August 2015, Governor Wolf launched online voter registration. Since then, more than 1.4 million applicants have used the site to apply for a new voter registration or update an existing registration.
The 1937 PA Election Code sets the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot at one week before the election, or by 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 29, this year. The deadline for county election offices to receive voted absentee ballots is just three days later, on the Friday before the election. This year, that deadline is 5:00 p.m. Nov. 1.
The online applications will be forwarded directly to the appropriate county elections office for processing. Voters must still mail or hand-deliver the voted absentee ballots to their county elections office.
“This latest innovation will make the absentee ballot voting process more convenient and accessible and will save time,” Secretary Boockvar said. “Still, we urge voters to apply for their absentee ballot well ahead of the application deadline, so the counties can get the ballots mailed early enough for voters to meet the return deadline.”
The online application is currently available to all domestic Pennsylvania voters, and will be available to military and overseas voters by 2020. Initially, online applications will require a PennDOT driver’s license or ID number. The Department of State is planning an update, also by 2020, that will allow applicants without a PennDOT number to use the online system.
In Pennsylvania, absentee ballots may be cast by individuals with illnesses or disabilities, individuals who will be away from their municipality on business on Election Day, and Pennsylvania students attending out-of-state colleges or universities, among others.