How to Vote in Pennsylvania’s 2024 Elections

Posted on 02/29/24 by Elissa Chudwin

En español

Important dates and election information

Key dates

  • Primary election: Tuesday, April 23
  • General election: Tuesday, Nov. 5

Voting at a glance

  • Absentee and mail voting: Any registered voter can request a mail-in ballot without a reason. Absentee ballots — which are distinct from mail-in ballots — are only 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 Election Day.

  • Voting at the polls: Only first-time voters need an approved form of ID to vote at the polls on Election Day.
Election Day In Reading Pennsylvania
A woman walks into a polling place in Reading, PA.
MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle vi/MediaNews Group via Getty Images

How to vote in Pennsylvania

What to know about recent changes

If you are updating or getting your driver’s license at a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation site, you will automatically be taken through the voter registration process unless you choose to opt out.

State officials have redesigned mail ballot materials. Changes include clearer instructions for completing and returning your ballot, and color-coded envelopes.

Voter registration

You can register online, by mail or in person. Registration forms must be received by Monday, April 8, for the primary election.

  • Online: Use the state’s voter registration portal to register. Include your Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT identification card number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
  • By mail: Print a voter registration form, complete it and mail it to your county’s voter registration office. Include your Pennsylvania driver’s license number or PennDot identification card number. If you have neither, you can use the last four digits of your Social Security number. This form also can be used to request a mail-in ballot.

Voter registration also is automatically offered at a PennDOT photo or driver’s license center when you get or update your driver’s license.

Check if you are registered to vote through the Pennsylvania voter services portal.

Registering to vote on Election Day

Pennsylvania does not offer voter registration on Election Day.

How to vote in Pennsylvania’s primary

You must be a registered voter affiliated with a political party to vote in that specific party’s primary. If you do not affiliate with a political party, you can still vote on constitutional amendments and ballot questions and in any special election contests.

You must update your voter registration to change your party affiliation. The deadline to do so for the primary is Monday, April 8.

Ways to vote 

Requesting an absentee ballot

Any registered voter can request a mail-in ballot without a reason. You’ll need to submit a new request each year, but you can register with the state’s annual mail-in voter list in February to receive a ballot by mail for every election that year.

Only voters who have a disability or illness, or who will be out of town on Election Day, can request an absentee ballot. More information is available at the department of state’s website. 

All applications must be received by Tuesday, April 16, at 5 p.m.

  • Online: Use the state’s ballot request portal to request a mail-in or absentee ballot. You’ll need a state driver’s license or a PennDOT ID number to apply. If you don’t have either, include the last four digits of your Social Security number and upload a photo of your signature. If you don’t have an approved ID or a Social Security number, you must apply by mail or in person.

You can request an emergency absentee ballot in the event of an emergency, such as an unexpected illness. Your emergency application must be received by your county board of elections by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Returning your absentee ballot

Return your completed ballot to your county board of elections office by 8 p.m. on Election Day (Tuesday, April 23). Or drop off your ballot at a secure drop box or other satellite election office, if available.

Use the state’s voter services portal to track the status of your ballot.

Voting in person before Election Day          

You can cast an absentee or mail ballot in person until Tuesday, April 16, at 5 p.m. Find more information at the department of state’s website.

Voting at the polls on Election Day        

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Use the state’s voter services portal to find a polling place near you.

Voter ID requirements on Election Day

Only first-time voters need to show an approved form of ID, such as a Pennsylvania driver’s license or U.S. passport, at the polls. Find a complete list at the department of state’s website.

Voting with a disability

If you have a disability, you can designate someone else to submit your mail-in or absentee application and/or return your ballot. You and your designated agent must complete an authorization form to do so.

Every polling place statewide is required to have at least one accessible voting system. The department of state’s website directs you to video demonstrations on how to use the system available in your county.

Voters who need assistance completing their ballot can receive help from either a poll worker or someone they choose, as long as that person is not the voter’s employer or union representative or a judge of elections.

Find more information at the secretary of state’s website.

More information about candidates

Key races:

  • U.S. President
  • U.S. Senate: one seat
  • U.S. House: 17 seats
  • State Senate: 25 of 50 seats
  • State House: 203 seats
  • Attorney General
  • State Treasurer

Editor’s note: This guide was originally published on Jan. 30, 2024, and has been updated with new information.

Elissa Chudwin covers federal and state policy and writes the podcast Today’s Tips from AARP. She previously worked as a digital producer for The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, California, and as an editor for Advocate magazines in Dallas.

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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