Voter Registration in Pennsylvania
“Am I registered to vote in Pennsylvania?” This is a common question in the weeks before an election. However, the deadline by which you must be registered if you want to vote in an upcoming election is a little less than a month before the election starts. Instead of asking “Where do I vote in Pennsylvania?” you can learn about the process and ensure that you are able to vote for your candidate.
In this article, you will learn how to register to vote in Pennsylvania: how to register, the eligibility requirements, the deadlines, why registration cards are important and how to change your registration information if it is inaccurate. By the end of the article, you should have a good sense of how Pennsylvania’s voting system works. This, in turn, will allow you to be prepared before deciding who would best represent your ideals.
Who can register to vote in Pennsylvania?
Registering to vote in Pennsylvania is a right granted to many residents in the state. However, there are a few requirements you must meet before you are eligible to vote. First, the voting process is only eligible to adults, so you will not be able to vote until you are 18. You will be able to register before your 18th birthday if your birthday takes place during the upcoming election or voter registration deadline period.
As well, you must have established both your US citizenship and your Pennsylvania residency. Your citizenship must be established a month prior to the election, and the residency must be established for 30 days. If you are currently serving a felony sentence in prison, you will not be able to register to vote. Once your sentence is finished, you will be able to vote, and this restriction does not apply to people under house arrest, on parole or who were found guilty of a misdemeanor.
Pennsylvania Voter Registration Deadline
The Pennsylvania voter registration is roughly a month before most elections. This means that October 9th is the last day you are able to vote before the election on November 6th. If you choose to register after this date, you will need to wait for the next election in order to vote. If you send your ballot via mail, it needs to be postmarked by the deadline.
How to Register to Vote in Pennsylvania
There are four ways you can register to vote in Pennsylvania. They are:
- In-person, at a county registration office
- By Mail
- At a voter registration drive
When registering in-person or via the mail, you will need to fill out a Voter Registration Application. This application requires you to provide basic identifying information about yourself, such as your name and address.
You will also be required to provide either your state ID Number or the Serial Number for your Social Security. The form also gives you the option to volunteer as a poll worker. A similar form can be filled out using the Pennsylvania Department of State’s online portal.
Early Voting in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania does not have an early voting program. If you are unable to vote on Election Day, you will need to get an absentee ballot.
Pennsylvania Voter Registration for Absentee Voting
In order to register for absentee voting in Pennsylvania, you will need to contact the County Election Office. This office accepts absentee ballot applications in-person or sent via mail. As well, you are allowed to send a letter stating why you are unable to vote in-person on Election Day. Not all eligible voters are allowed to register to vote by absentee ballot.
Instead, there is a list of reasons provided on the application. Unless you are a member of the military, you will need to submit the form no less than one week before the election.
You will receive your ballot in the mail, and the majority of elections require you to submit this ballot the Friday before the election, before 5 p.m. An exception is made for votes cast for the President and Vice President. If the postmark is not noted, and the vote will be counted so long as it is received before Election Day is over.
Pennsylvania Voter Registration for Active Duty Military and Out-of-State Residents
Service members who currently reside overseas must go through the absentee ballot process. However, two exceptions are made for them.
First, they are not required to register to vote before the election. Instead, they simply need to register for an absentee ballot and submit it to their County Election Office.
Second, the deadlines are different. They are required to submit their ballot a day before Election Day. It will not be counted if it is received by the office after November 13th.
Voter Registration Cards in Pennsylvania
Voter registration cards in Pennsylvania can be used as a form of identification, but that is not their primary purpose, as drivers licenses perform a similar function. Instead, these cards are useful for the information they provide. They contain identifying information you already know, such as your name and address.
Moreover, they also include your polling place and signature. The polling place information is useful if you have forgotten where you are supposed to vote, while the signature on your voting card is the same one that is compared to the signature you use when signing for a ballot. If the signatures do not match, your ballot may be thrown out.
How to Change Your Voter Registration in Pennsylvania
If you want to change your voter registration address in Pennsylvania, you will need to submit a new registration form. This works whether you want to do a voter registration change of address, party or name. If you are changing your name or party, you need to do so no less than 30 days before Election Day, in order for the change to be processed in time for the election.
If you move within 30 days, you need to vote at your old polling place. Once you change your name, the ID that you bring to the polls will need to list that ID.
How to Replace a Lost Pennsylvania Voter Registration Card
If you have lost your voter registration card in Pennsylvania, you will need to contact your county voter registration office in order to get a new one.