Image via Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock

Every single vote matters in the upcoming election.

A critical battleground state, Pennsylvania has a history of close election results.

In November 2016, 6,115,402 Pennsylvanians went to the polls. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump received 2,926,441 and 2,970,733, respectively, while third-party candidates received the remaining votes.

In other words, Trump won Pennsylvania by 0.7 percentage points.  

With the GOP trying to restrict voter access this fall, registering to vote and casting a ballot is more important than ever in the Keystone State.

How has the GOP tried to limit voter access?

President Donald Trump has made it clear he opposes voting by mail. Additionally, Republicans in the state legislature have introduced legislation to effectively ban the use of mail-ballot drop boxes and move up the deadline to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot earlier, from seven days before Election Day to 15 days. 

These efforts would likely reduce the number of ballots rejected for arriving after Election Day, but would also give voters less time to request mail-in ballots and fewer avenues to return them, potentially disenfranchising some Pennsylvania residents.

In the era of COVID-19 and social distancing, many Pennsylvanians wish to vote by mail rather than in person.

Who is eligible to register to vote in Pennsylvania?

Most Pennsylvanians can register to vote. To be eligible, a person must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a citizen of the United States for at least one month before the elections 
  • Be a resident of a Pennsylvanian election district for at least 30 days before November 3, 2020
  • Be at least 18 years of age or older on Election Day
  • Currently not serving a prison sentence for any felony convictions (voting rights are restored immediately upon release)
  • Not found guilty of violating any provision of the Pennsylvania Election Code within the last four years

What is the voter registration deadline in Pennsylvania?

If you meet those requirements, you must register to vote by October 19, 2020.

If you plan to mail a signed voter registration application to your county office, plan on sending it early. The county election office must receive the application 15 days before an election. Applications postmarked by the deadline will not be accepted.

How do you register?

There are four ways to register to vote in Pennsylvania:

  • Online using the state’s online voter registration form found here
  • By mail by downloading the state’s voter registration form and mailing the completed form to your county voter registration office
  • Visiting your county voter registration office and filling out the form there
  • In person at PennDOT and some other government agencies.

You will need to include your PA driver’s license or PennDOT ID card number or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Where is my voter registration office?

You can find information for your county’s voter registration office on most county websites. You can also use this tool to find yours.

What happens after I complete the online voter registration application?

Once you’ve submitted your online voter registration application and it is approved, your county election office will mail you a voter registration card.

If you have any questions, call 1.877.VOTESPA (1.877.868.3772) or visit here.