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State Officials Urge: File Absentee Ballot Applications Early

April 22, 2019 GMT

Pennsylvania’s 2019 primary election is still a little over a month away, but if you’re planning to vote via absentee ballot, state officials are asking you to get your application in as soon as possible. This year the primary will be held May 21, and applications for absentee ballots are due a week earlier, on May 14. Voters then must submit their absentee ballots by 5 p.m. May 17. “The election code sets a tight turnaround time — just four days — between the last day Pennsylvania voters can request an absentee ballot and when their completed absentee ballot must be received,” said Kathy Boockvar, Pennsylvania’s acting secretary of state. “That’s why it’s important to request an absentee ballot well in advance to ensure the vote is received in time to be counted.” Pennsylvania permits absentee ballots for people with illnesses or disabilities; for people who will be away form their home municipality on Election Day; for students attending out-of-state colleges and for deployed members of the military. Absentee ballots must be returned in person or mailed to your county election office. The ballots must be received by 5 p.m. May 17, not just postmarked by that date. Absentee ballots cast by members of the military will be accepted until 5 p.m. May 28. Here are some other things you need to know as the Primary approaches: • When is the last day to register? You must register to vote by today to participate in the primary. • Do I need to register as a member of a particular political party? Yes, if you want to select nominees during the primary. Pennsylvania has a closed primary, which means that you can vote only for candidates affiliated with your political party. Any ballot questions or referendums are open to all registered voters. • Which officials am I electing? This primary will decide the nominees for various local offices including mayors and city councils and township supervisors. County-wide races including district attorney and county council will also be decided. The nominees selected during the primary from each political party will face each other during the general election in November.