The 2020 election is less than three months away. There will many deadlines approaching in the coming months as you prepare to cast your ballot on (or before!) November 3rd. The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with likely attempts to suppress vote-by-mail efforts, require that we be proactive in making plans for how we will submit our ballots this fall.

The following information is specific to Pennsylvania. If you reside in another state, visit https://vote.gov/ to confirm information for your state.

Registering to Vote

If you are a new voter In Pennsylvania, you can register to vote online (access the online form here), by mail (download the paper application here), in person at your county voter registration office (find your county office here), or at any Pennsylvania Department of Transportation photo or driver’s license center (find a PennDOT location here). In order to vote in Pennsylvania, you must be a United States citizen, a resident of Pennsylvania for at least 30 days prior to the election, and at least 18 years old.

The last day before the 2020 election to register to vote is October 19, 2020.

Check your Voter Registration status

You are able to verify your voter registration status through the Pennsylvania Department of State. You can search for your voter registration status with your Name and Birthday or your PennDOT Driver’s License or PennDOT ID. By checking your registration status, you can confirm that your registration is current, your address is correct, and that you know your polling place. Check your registration status here.

Update your Voter Registration

If you have moved since you last voted, changed your name, or wish to change your political party, you need to update your registration. You can update your voter registration online, by mail, or in person using the voter registration application form. Updating your registration ensures that your ballot will come to the correct address (if you wish to vote by mail) or that you go to the correct polling place (if voting in person).

Request a Mail-In Ballot

All registered voters in Pennsylvania can apply for a mail-in ballot. Voting by mail provides a way to participate in the election without a trip to the polls. Individuals who request a mail-in ballot will receive their ballot in the mail from their county election office. You can learn more about mail-in ballots here or apply for a mail-in ballot here.

You can also track the status of your ballot from the time you apply to vote by mail until the time your completed ballot has been received by your county election office.

Your request for a mail-in ballot must be received by your county election office by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. Given potential delays in the mail, it is advisable to request your ballot far before this date.

Review your county’s Voting System

If you plan to go to the polls on Election Day, familiarize yourself with the voting machines used in your county. The PA Department of State website shows demonstrations of the voting machines for each Pennsylvania county. This will help you know what to expect when you get to the voting booth. Many counties are using new machines this year that are supposed to be more secure.

Spread the Word

The VotesPA website also includes a Voter Registration Toolkit to help educate community members about registration deadlines, the voting process, and the availability of mail-in ballots. The toolkit includes posters, flyers, social media graphics, and info sheets that you can share with others in your networks to be sure they have the information they need to participate in the 2020 election.

There is a lot at stake in this year’s election and it’s important that we all participate in this civic duty.