Voter Information Services
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How to Vote by Absentee Ballot
In Pennsylvania you cannot vote absentee simply because you find going to the polls an inconvenience, or because you want to avoid the crowds on Election Day. Registered voters in Pennsylvania can vote by absentee ballot in only two situations:
In either case, you must list the reason for your absence on the absentee voter application. If you need voting assistance due to poor eyesight, inability to write, etc., a special form must be requested to accompany the absentee ballot application.
The easiest way to vote absentee is to go to your local courthouse in person, fill out an application for an absentee ballot, receive the ballot, and vote immediately. This is possible only after the ballots have been printed, so call the courthouse first.
Counties do not automatically mail out absentee voter applications to voters except for those registered voters who have been certified as being physically disabled. In order to get an absentee ballot by mail you must first request an absentee ballot application. You can call your county courthouse for an application. (In Indiana County call 724.465.3805.) You can also download a form at www.votespa.com. Click on “How to vote”. .
Absentee ballot applications must be submitted to the courthouse by 5:00 pm on the Tuesday before the election. If an emergency arises (unexpected illness or a business trip) after the Tuesday application deadline, call your county courthouse for information on emergency absentee voting.
Once your application has been approved you will be mailed a ballot. Completed ballots must be received at the courthouse by 5:00 pm on the Friday before the election.
You must return the completed ballot by U.S. mail or take it to the courthouse in person. It is illegal for election officials to accept ballots from family members, friends or neighbors, or from a political party representative.
IMPROPER COMPLETION OF THE ABSENTEE BALLOT OR RELATED MATERIAL, OR IMPROPER DELIVERY OF THE ABSENTEE BALLOT TO THE COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS, CAN RESULT IN YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT BEING CHALLENGED AND SET ASIDE BY THE COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS OR A COURT OF LAW.