decision 2022

Deadline to Request Mail-in Ballot Deadline for Pa. Primary Was May 10

Pennsylvania voters need to request a mail-in ballot by May 10 if they plan on voting by mail in the May 17 primary election. Here's how to apply and what you need to consider if and when you get a mail-in ballot.

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Pennsylvania voters who would like to vote using a mail-in ballot in the May 17 primary election must request one by May 10.

That means either in-person by the close of your county election office or online through Pennsylvania's State Department website. The deadline for both ways is 5 p.m.

Here are considerations for applying for, and then submitting, your filled-out ballot before the 8 p.m. deadline on May 17.

How Do I Apply for a Mail-in Ballot in Person?

The quickest way to get a mail-in ballot today is in person at your county election office. This is also the quickest way to return your ballot once it's filled out.

For instance, if a Philadelphia voter goes to the city's Elections Office at City Hall and requests a mail-in ballot today, the voter will receive it immediately, and then have the option of filling it out and returning it at the same time, City Commissioner Seth Bluestein said.

A voter could also choose to take the ballot home if they don't want to fill it out right away. In that case, after filling it out at home, Bluestein said, they can then:

  • Bring it back to the Elections Office to submit it
  • Put it in one of the city's official drop boxes (A map and list of locations is below.)
  • Mail it back using the U.S. Postal Service

All of those options must be done by the 8 p.m. deadline on May 17.

How Do I Apply for a Mail-in Ballot Online?

You can request one here through the Pennsylvania Department of State's website. The online form must be filled out by 5 p.m.

When Can I Drop off My Mail-in Ballot at a Drop Box?

Counties have drop boxes placed at different locations. You must leave your ballot in a box within the county in which you’re registered to vote. Find a drop box in your corresponding county here: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia or in the map and list below.

How Do I Fill Out My Mail-in Ballot?

There are a few key points to remember: Be careful when opening your ballot, make sure the ballot is inside the included secrecy envelope before putting it in the outer envelope (thus avoiding a “naked” ballot) and ensure you sign the outer envelope before sending it back. Get a more detailed explanation here and here (note that the second link is an article from 2020, but the same rules apply).

Voters in the Keystone State will play a crucial role in which political party controls Congress, particularly with the open race to replace retiring Republican Pat Toomey in the U.S. Senate. All the while, both Democrats and Republicans see the governor's office as all-important in which party controls state politics for the next four years. Current Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, cannot run for a third term.

When Are PA’s 2022 Primary and General Elections?

The primary election in Pennsylvania is May 17. The general election is Nov. 8. Polls for both elections will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Can I Vote in the Primary?

Pennsylvania has closed primaries. This means that to vote for a member of a certain party, you have to be registered as a member of that party. In other words, if you are unaffiliated with a party, you can’t vote in the primary.

However, unaffiliated voters are allowed to vote in the general election, and they can also have their say when it comes to ballot questions.

Who is Running for PA Governor?

The Democratic Party's nominee, Josh Shapiro, filed to run for governor in the midst of serving his second term as Pennsylvania's elected attorney general. He has a clear lane to the party's nomination with no opposition.

Nine candidates remain on the Republican side.

They are: Lou Barletta, the GOP's nominee for U.S. Senate in 2018 and a former congressman known for his crusade against illegal immigration; Jake Corman, the top-ranking state senator; Joe Gale, a Montgomery County commissioner; Charlie Gerow, a marketing consultant and longtime conservative activist; Melissa Hart, a lawyer and former congresswoman; state Sen. Doug Mastriano, a force in Pennsylvania's right-wing politics who aligned himself with Trump and pushed to overturn 2020's presidential election; Bill McSwain, a lawyer who was the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Philadelphia; Dave White, who runs a large plumbing and HVAC firm and is a former Delaware County councilman; and Nche Zama, a heart surgeon who has directed units at various hospitals in Pennsylvania.

Who is Running for the U.S. Senate?

Both parties will have contested primaries.

Four candidates are vying for the Democratic Party's nomination.

They are: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman; second-term state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta of Philadelphia; liberal activist and Jenkintown borough councilor Alex Khalil; and third-term U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb of suburban Pittsburgh.

On the Republican side are seven candidates.

They are: conservative activist Kathy Barnette, who has aligned herself with leading figures in the Trump-led push to overturn 2020's presidential election; real estate investor Jeff Bartos, who was the party's nominee for lieutenant governor in 2018; lawyer George Bochetto; lawyer Sean Gale; former hedge fund CEO David McCormick; Mehmet Oz, the self-styled health and wellness guru and author best-known as host of daytime TV's “The Dr. Oz Show;" and Carla Sands, Trump's former ambassador to Denmark who ran her late husband's commercial real estate empire in California.

What Are the Other Big Races?

In addition to the governor and U.S. senator races, voters will be able to elect a lieutenant governor, as well as representatives across Pennsylvania’s 17 U.S. House districts.

In Southeastern Pennsylvania, every current congressional member representing the region's seven U.S. House districts is running for re-election.

Check out the candidates for those races by clicking here

For all the candidates, issues and important dates that voters should know about in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, go to NBC10's Decision 2022 page. You'll find tools to help you navigate the midterm elections, including when to vote and who will be on your ballots in the primaries and November general elections.

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