Pennsylvania voters can now apply for a mail-in ballot for the Nov. 5 2024 general election.

The Department of State has launched the applications two months earlier than last presidential election, giving voters over eight weeks of additional time to apply.

Mail ballot applications must be received by a voter’s county elections board by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

“The Shapiro Administration is focused on commonsense, practical ways to improve the vote-by-mail experience for voters. That includes design changes to mail ballot materials, which resulted in fewer mail ballots being rejected in April’s primary election,” said Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt in a release. “We believe the ability to apply for a mail ballot online earlier, coupled with a redesign of the online mail ballot application, are further steps in simplifying the vote-by-mail process for registered voters.”

According to the Department of State, upon receiving their mail ballot, voters should:

  1. Mark their selected candidates by following the instructions on the ballot.

  2. Read the enclosed instruction sheet detailing how to pack and return the ballot.

  3. Seal the ballot in the yellow secrecy envelope marked “official election ballot.” Do not make any stray marks on the envelope.

  4. Seal the yellow secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed outer return envelope.

  5. Sign and write the current date on the outer return envelope. Look for the symbol on the instructions sheet to determine where to place your signature and the current date.

Under Pennsylvania law, a voter may hand-deliver only their own mail ballot. The two exceptions to this law are for voters with a disability who designate someone in writing to deliver their ballot and for voters who need an emergency absentee ballot.

County election offices must receive all completed mail ballots, whether they are mail-in or absentee ballots, by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 5. Mail ballots received after that time, even if postmarked before 8 p.m. Nov. 5, will not count.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day for registered voters who prefer to vote in person.

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