Pennsylvania

Here's How to Vote by Mail in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware

How to get a mail-in or absentee ballot in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware

PAUL J. RICHARDS

Tuesday is the last day to apply for a mail-in ballot before Pennsylvania's primary election, on June 2 next week. New Jersey and Delaware won't vote until next month - they postponed their primaries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

States are encouraging voters to stay safe and be responsible should they vote in person. At least one state in the region is distributing a supply of personal protective equipment and sanitizing kits to polling places.

Officials are working to make the process safe, but it hasn't been smooth everywhere. Wisconsin saw depressed turnout and seven cases of coronavirus tied to in-person voting in April's primary in Milwaukee. Voters there waited in long lines and many were at the site for hours.

States have options to vote by mail to save a trip to the polling place. Here's where, when and how to do it.

Pennsylvania

The state has seen a surge in applications for mail-in ballots for the June 2 primary, Gov. Tom Wolf has said.

The last day to register to vote in the Pennsylvania primary was May 18. Remember, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware all have "closed" primaries, which means you must be registered as a member of either the Democratic or Republican parties to vote in the primary.

Here's where you can register.

Once registered, May 26 is the last day to apply for a mail-in ballot, but the state encouraged doing it sooner rather than later, to help staff manage what is already an unprecedented number of applications.

You can apply for a mail-in ballot at VotesPA.com/MailBallot. Voters who previously applied before the election was rescheduled do not need to reapply.

There is a difference between mail-in ballots and absentee ballots. To provide an absentee ballot, you need a reason (and thus, paperwork), but mail-in ballots are available without providing a reason, Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt said.

The application for the two different ballots is the same - to get a mail-in ballot using the online questionnaire, just say no to the first three questions about military or overseas status, being absent from the municipality, or having an illness or disability. Complete the rest of the form, and a ballot will then be mailed to you.

For in-person voting, the state is distributing $13 million in grants to counties that may need increased staffing or more equipment like high-volume scanners to handle an increased volume of mail-in ballots and applications. Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar said counties can also use that money for personal protective equipment (PPE) for poll workers.

The state is also distributing thousands of precinct protection kits containing PPE for poll workers. The kits include masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, floor markings (to encourage social distancing) and supplies to disinfect voting machines.

Some polling locations may be moved or consolidated due to the pandemic. Boockvar said the state can compel certain locations schools to open for the election, but will have to work with others like private businesses that serve as polling places.

Depending on which county you live in, you may be able to drop off your completed ballot on Election Day.

The state needs to have in-person voting because some voters with disabilities may not be able to vote by mail in this election, Boockvar said. Officials are working on an option that would be in place for the general election in November.

Delaware

Delaware moved its primary again, and it is now scheduled for July 7. The state will also mail absentee ballots to all residents. There is no need to apply for them.

When you receive and complete the ballot, mail or deliver it to your county elections office. The addresses are available here.

New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order that pushed the primary back to July 7. Several special and municipal elections, including Ventnor and Ocean City, were rescheduled by executive order to May 12, and took place exclusively by mail.

The state's website says the July 7 primary may be held exclusively by mail, but no decision has been made yet.

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is June 30. In-person applications will be accepted until 3 p.m. the day before the election.

Apply for a ballot online here.

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