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You Can Now Apply for a Mail-in Ballot for the 2020 Pennsylvania Election

pennsylvania mail in ballot 2020

Want to avoid the polls on Election Day in 2020? Pennsylvania voters can now get a mail-in ballot.

The mail-in ballot for Pennsylvania voters is new for the 2020 election. It’s like the absentee ballot but it’s not for absentee voters.

Here are the election dates in 2020 for Pennsylvania:

  • Primary: April 28
  • General: November 3

Pennsylvania Mail-in Ballot New for 2020 Election

pennsylvania mail in ballot 2020

You can now apply for a mail-in ballot for the 2020 election in Pennsylvania. That means here in Schuylkill County, too. In a little bit, we’ll tell you how to get a mail-in ballot.

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The mail-in ballot is a new option for voters. It’s the result of Act 77, which was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2019. This is the same bill which provided some of the funding for Schuylkill County’s new voting machines debuting in 2020.

Act 77 Election Changes

Here’s what’s different about voting in Pennsylvania thanks to Act 77.

  • You can register to vote up to 15 days prior to an election. The deadline used to be 30 days.
  • Absentee ballots can now be received up until polls close (8 p.m.) on Election Day.
  • Mail-in and absentee ballots can how be processed up to 50 days prior to an election, once a ballot is certified. At the very latest, a county must send mail-in and absentee ballots to voters requesting them no later than the second Tuesday before an election.
  • Voters can request a permanent mail-in ballot. A voter’s application would be automatically renewed annually.

How to Get a Pennsylvania Mail-in Ballot for the 2020 Election

A lot of voters enjoy the experience of heading out to the polls on Election Day. There’s something symbolic about it, for sure. But it’s not always an option for some voters who aren’t absentee voters. And not every voter gets that same patriotic feeling by going to the polls to vote.

Whatever the reason, the mail-in ballot now gives any registered voter the option to send in their picks early, or up until polls close on Election Day.

Important Reminders About the Pennsylvania Mail-in Ballot

  • You can only get a mail-in ballot in Pennsylvania if you don’t qualify for an absentee ballot. These are not the same thing but, of course, they’ll all be voting for the same offices. But there is a difference.
  • If you send in a mail-in ballot, you can not vote at your local precinct. Let’s say you send in a mail-in ballot but you think it won’t get to the Schuylkill County Election Bureau office before the close of polls on Election Day. There’s still something you can do. You’ll have request a provisional ballot at your local precinct. The precinct officials will know if your mail-in ballot was received or is late.

Apply Online

online application pennsylvania mail in ballot

The easiest way to apply for a Pennsylvania mail-in ballot is to do so online. You’ll need one of the following:

  • Valid PA Driver’s License
  • Photo ID (issued by PennDOT)

If you’ve got those, head over to the state’s website for applying to get a 2020 mail-in ballot:

APPLICATION FOR PENNSYLVANIA MAIL-IN BALLOT

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Apply By Mail

You can get the mail-in ballot for the Pennsylvania elections in 2020 by using snail mail, too. It’s important to remember that you must get your application for a mail-in ballot to the Schuylkill County Election Bureau office in Pottsville no later than 1 week prior to an election.

Simply download the application for a mail-in ballot in English or Spanish, fill it out, and send it to the election bureau at the following address:

  • Schuylkill County Voter Registration
    420 N Centre St
    Pottsville PA 17901

When your application is approved, you’ll get a mail-in ballot in the mail. You then have to get that ballot back to the Election Bureau before polls close on Election Day.

Voters can also apply for a mail-in ballot by writing a letter to the Schuylkill County Election Bureau. That letter must include all the information that’s included on the formal paper application.

Apply in Person

One last option for getting a mail-in ballot is to go right to the Election Bureau office in downtown Pottsville. It’s at 420 N. Centre St., across the street from City Hall and next door to the Pottsville Post Office.

As soon as the Schuylkill County ballots are finalized, voters here can go to the Election Bureau and apply in-person for a mail-in ballot.

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How to Vote on a Pennsylvania Mail-in Ballot

This is a new process for Pennsylvania voters but it’s still just voting. In fact, it’s voting the old-fashioned way.

Once you get your official mail-in ballot in the mail or in person for the upcoming election, simply fill it out. Put the ballot in the “secrecy” envelope included with your mail-in ballot. Then put that envelope into the “official” envelope, sign it where it’s requested, and then mail in your votes.

Photo: License purchased at Depositphotos.com

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Ryles

    February 15, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    PA finally getting out of the dark ages but somehow we’llmanage to futz it up.

    • admin

      February 15, 2020 at 4:24 pm

      We’re actually fans of the old-fashioned means of voting. Technically this is it because it’s a paper ballot but it brings in unnecessary levels of administration. Schuylkill County has a mostly unblemished record of holding elections. There really was no reason to change it originally in 2006.

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