How to Vote in Pennsylvania’s 2022 Elections

Posted on 10/07/21 by Andrew Soergel

En español | Pennsylvania's May 17 primaries will determine which candidates appear on November’s general election ballots for governor, U.S. House and Senate and several state offices. Note that changes could be coming for how you vote in the 2022 elections, with state lawmakers pushing for tighter registration deadlines, new voter ID requirements and new restrictions on ballot drop boxes.

  • All registered voters can request a no-excuse mail-in ballot and vote from home for the primaries and for November's general election. Absentee ballots are also available for people who are out of town on Election Day or who have an illness or disability that prevents them from going to the polls.
  • The state’s 2022 primary election is Tuesday, May 17; the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Election Day In Reading Pennsylvania

How do I register to vote?

  • Online: Use the state’s voter registration portal to register, check your registration status or change your party affiliation. The deadline to register for the primaries is May 2, 2022.

You can check if you are registered to vote through the Pennsylvania voter services and information portal.

Does my party affiliation matter when I vote?

In a Pennsylvania primary election it does. Only registered voters of a specific party may vote in that party’s primary. Independent voters cannot participate. May 2 is the deadline to register, switch parties or update your voter information for the May 17 primary.

How can I get a mail-in or absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?

Any registered voter can request a no-excuse mail-in ballot and vote safely from home in the May primaries and in November’s general election. You’ll need to submit a new request each year, but you can register with the state’s annual mail-in voter list to receive a ballot application by mail each February.

Absentee ballots, which are also submitted by mail, are reserved for people who have a disability or illness that prevents them from going to the polls — or for people who are out of town on the day of the election. 

You can apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot online, by mail or in person:

  • Online: Use the state’s ballot request portal. You’ll need a state driver’s license or a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation ID number to apply. If you don’t have either, you’ll be asked for the last four digits of your Social Security number and to upload a picture of your signature. If you don’t have a valid ID or a Social Security number, you’ll need to apply by mail or in person.

Return completed ballots by mail, in person or via another person, or “agent,” if you’re disabled. Election officials must receive ballots by May 17 at 8 p.m. to count in the primaries. 

  • By mail: Seal your completed ballot in the inner secrecy envelope, then seal that envelope in the pre-addressed return envelope. Send it to your county board of elections office.
  • Through an agent: Most voters can’t enlist someone else to return their ballot. But if you have a disability that prevents you from applying for, receiving or returning a mail-in or absentee ballot yourself, you can designate an agent to return your ballot for you.

Use the state’s voter portal to track the status of your mail-in or absentee ballot.

In the event of an emergency, such as an unexpected illness or unplanned trip out of town, you may be able to request an emergency absentee ballot.

Can I vote in person before Election Day?

Yes. Once your county finalizes and begins distributing mail-in and absentee ballots, you can request and complete one in person at your county board of elections office until May 10.

When is Election Day? When are polls open?

The primary elections will be held on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Use the state's voter information portal to find a polling place near you.

The general election will be held on Nov. 8, 2022.

Do I need identification to vote?

No — unless it is your first time voting, in which case you’ll need to show an approved form of ID like a state-issued driver’s license or a U.S. passport.

What races are on the ballot in 2022?

  • Governor
  • Lieutenant Governor
  • U.S. Senate: the seat of Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who is not seeking reelection
  • U.S. House: all 17 seats
  • State Senate: 25 of 50 seats
  • State House: all 203 seats

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Oct. 7 with information about how to vote in 2022. The guide was first published on July 30, 2020. Voting rules, procedures and candidates may change before Election Day. We’ll keep this guide updated, so bookmark this page and check back.

Also of Interest

This story is provided by AARP Pennsylvania. Visit the AARP Pennsylvania page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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