Philly Vote-by-Mail FAQs
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3. Return Your Mail-in Ballot Early!
Q. What are the deadlines to vote by mail?
A. The deadline to apply for vote by mail is October 27 at 5 pm
Your mail-in ballot must be mailed or dropped off by Election Day, November 3, by 8
Q. What are the steps to sign up to vote by mail?
A. Go to the Pennsylvania state web page and use these steps to get to the Vote By Mail page:
1. Page One – Say you’re not a robot
2. Page Two – Answer “No” to each of the three questions unless they apply to you (Military? Away from home? Illness or disability? These are the questions to qualify for the absentee ballot, not the “no excuses” mail-in ballot.)
3. Page Three – Fill out this form to apply for your mail-in ballot.
Q. What do I do with the ballot after I’ve filled it out and voted?
A. Handle your Mail-in ballot correctly! Here’s how:
You will receive a packet of four pieces of information in the packet. There are four basic steps to complete the process.
1. The instructions – follow them!
2. The official ballot – Use a blue or black pen to mark your selections. Follow the instructions on the ballot. You MUST vote for each position separately – there is no straight-party voting anymore. Only mark your vote – don’t put any other marks on the ballot.
3. The secrecy envelope – Place your voted ballot in the small envelope and seal it.
4. The outer envelope – Place your sealed Secrecy Envelope in this larger “Voter Declaration” Envelope. Seal the larger envelope, read the Voter’s Declaration, and sign and complete your information where indicated.
If you need further instructions, Watch this video by the PA Department of State showing how to complete your mail-in ballot. Read the City of Philadelphia’s Ballot Guide for how to complete and return your ballot.
Q. Where do I turn in my mail-in ballot?
A. You have two options.
1. Mail your voted ballot. The state is paying for mailing costs, so enter your return address and put it in the mail before November 3. Do it as soon as you vote on the ballot.
2. Or, deliver your voted ballot to a satellite Election Office. You MUST deliver your own ballot and you cannot have someone else deliver your ballot for you unless you certify you have a disability.
Click here for the current list of satellite Election Offices, where you can drop off your voted ballot. You can also sign up to vote by mail (by October 27), fill out the ballot, and turn it in, all in one visit.
The satellite offices are open:
· 7 days a week through Election Day
· Monday–Thursday 11:30 am to 6:30 pm, and Friday–Sunday 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
Q. How will I know my ballot has been received?
A. You can check your ballot status on the state’s ballot tracker web page or by calling 877-VOTESPA. If the status for your ballot indicates “Pending” it means that your ballot hasn't been mailed yet.
Q. What if I receive a mail-in ballot but changed my mind decide to go to the polls to vote?
A. You can still vote at your polling place; you have two options:
1. Take your ballot to the polling place, hand it in, and the poll worker will destroy it. Then you can vote on the voting machine.
2. Go to your polling place without your ballot and you can vote on a paper provisional ballot. These provisional ballots are counted too!