Harrisburg, PA – Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid encouraged  Pennsylvanians voting by mail ballot in the Nov. 2 election to hand-deliver their ballots to their county election officedrop box or other designated location as soon as possible.

“It’s time to return your mail ballot to ensure it arrives by the deadline. Although county election boards will accept voted mail ballots until 8 p.m. on Election Day, voters should not wait until the last minute. And a postmark doesn’t count,” Secretary Degraffenreid said. “Hand-deliver your mail ballot as soon as possible to your county election office or authorized drop-off location to be certain your vote will be counted.”

Voters who requested a mail ballot have several options for how to return it. They can:

Before casting their mail ballot, voters should:

  • Read the instructions carefully.
  • Fill out the ballot, being sure to follow instructions on how to mark selections.
  • Seal the ballot in the inner secrecy envelope that indicates “Official Election Ballot,” making sure not to make any stray marks on the envelope.
  • Then seal the secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed outer return envelope.
  • Complete the voter’s declaration on the outer envelope by signing their name and writing the current date.
  • Voters must complete all these steps for their ballot to be counted.

While voters can still apply for a mail ballot through Oct. 26 at 5 p.m., they are urged to fill out and return their ballot as soon as they receive it. They also have the option of voting their mail ballot in person at their county election office. They can apply for their ballot, wait while their eligibility is verified by an election official and then complete and return their ballot on the spot, all in one visit.

Under Pennsylvania law, voters may only return their own ballots. The only exceptions to this are for voters with a disability who have designated someone in writing to deliver their ballot, or voters who need third-party delivery of their emergency absentee ballot.

Voters who applied for and received a mail ballot and then decide they want to vote at the polls must bring their entire mail ballot packet with them to be voided, including the pre-addressed outer return envelope with the voter’s declaration.

If a voter applied for a mail ballot but did not receive it or no longer has the mail ballot and envelopes, they may vote by provisional ballot at the polls on Election Day. Their county board of elections will then verify that they did not vote by mail before counting their provisional ballot.

“Election Day is just days away. Do not delay,” Secretary Degraffenreid said. “Return your mail ballot now so your voice will be heard on Nov. 2.”

For more information on voting and elections in Pennsylvania, visit vote.pa.gov, call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (877-868-3772), or follow along on social media with the hashtag #ReadyToVotePA.