HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman reminded residents on Wednesday, April 13, that the deadline to apply for mail-in or absentee ballots is less than a month away. The deadline is May 10 at 5 p.m.

“Every eligible voter should have access to the ballot box,” Secretary Chapman said. “For those who either cannot physically get to their polling place on Election Day or prefer not to do so, voting by mail is a secure, accessible option.”

On May 17, voters will select their party’s nominees for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, governor, lieutenant governor and all statehouse seats, state senate seats in even-numbered districts, and Democratic and Republican State Committees.

Because Pennsylvania has closed primary elections, only voters registered as Democrats and Republicans can vote for their parties during this election.

So far, 664,000 voters have applied for mail-in ballots and 54,000 voters have applied for absentee ballots ahead of the May 17 election. Election offices in all counties must receive all completed mail ballots, either mail-in or absentee by 8 p.m. on May 17. Any ballot collected after that time will not be counted.

As outlined by the press release from Secretary Chapman:

Mail-in ballots

Any eligible Pennsylvania voter can request a mail-in ballot. Voters can apply for their ballot online or download and print an application from the Department of State’s website.

Voters do not have to provide any reason for requesting a mail-in ballot.

Absentee ballots

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 can apply for an absentee ballot. Examples include members of the military and overseas voters.

These voters can apply for an absentee ballot online or download and print an application from the department’s website. 

Upon receiving the mail ballot, voters should:

  • Fill out the ballot by following the instructions on how to mark selections.
  • Seal the ballot in the inner secrecy envelope that says “official ballot.” Do not make any stray marks on the envelope.
  • Then seal the inner secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed outer return envelope.
  • Sign and date the voter’s declaration on the outside of the outer return envelope.

For more information about all voting options and how to apply for different ballots, click here.