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PHAN’s Voter Guide: Getting Ready to Vote

October 1, 2020

The 2020 General Election is coming up on November 3rd and it’s unlike any election we’ve had before. With COVID-19 complications, many Pennsylvanians are unsure of how to get their vote counted. We want voters to be prepared and know their rights.

Who Can Vote in Pennsylvania?

You can register and vote if you are:

  • A citizen of the United States
  • 18 years old or older by Election Day
  • A resident of Pennsylvania

Still not sure if you qualify?

  • You can register to vote if you have a criminal record. As long as you are not currently incarcerated for a felony, you can vote. Even if you’re on probation or parole, under house arrest, or serving time for a misdemeanor, you can still vote.
  • You can vote if you were born in Puerto Rico and are now a Pennsylvania resident. If you were born in Puerto Rico, you are a U.S. citizen and can register in any U.S. state you live in. 
  • You can register to vote if you’ve recently moved states; as long as you are living in Pennsylvania for 30 days before the election, you can register to vote. You don’t need a Pennsylvania license or ID to register, but you do need your social security number. If you have moved within the state of Pennsylvania, just update your registration to your new address. You can do this online under the same registration application link.
  • You can register to vote in Pennsylvania if you are a college student from another state; just use your college address to register.

How & When Should I Register to Vote?

October 19th is the deadline to register to vote. You can register online or with a paper application that you will mail or hand-deliver to your county elections office. If you have problems registering, be sure to contact your local county elections office. Check your registration here.

If you’re registering online and you don’t have a Pennsylvania ID or PennDot number, you will need to upload a signature. Oftentimes the signature doesn’t go through, and at that point, they will direct you to mail in a signature.

Voting By Mail

If you want a mail-in ballot, make sure you request one by 5 p.m. on October 27th. Although October 27th is the official deadline, we recommend making your request as soon as possible due to mail delays. The amount of time it takes to receive your ballot varies, but you can track your ballot here. If it doesn’t arrive, or you lose it or make a mistake when filling it out, call your county election office for a replacement. You can also vote using a provisional ballot in person.

If you’re worried because you haven’t received your ballot yet, it’s coming! The ballot was finalized on September 17th and it probably won’t get to you until early October. They are mailing out almost two million ballots initially, so it will take some time. You can also pick up your mail-in ballot in person at your local county elections office once the initial ballots are mailed out.

Learn more about voting in Pennsylvania.