How to Vote in the 2021 Primary Election
When we vote, we elect leaders who make decisions on issues that affect our lives. In Pennsylvania, you must be registered by Monday, May 3 to have your voice heard in the May 18 primary election for district attorney candidates and other offices.
Hang this election poster in your shelter or affordable housing program.
Tuesday, May 18 is Election Day and the 8 p.m. deadline for your mail-in ballot to be received or hand delivered in all counties. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
How do I turn in the Pennsylvania Mail-in Ballot?
- Mail-in ballots must be received no later than Tuesday, May 18 by 8 p.m.
- Your mail-in ballot may be hand delivered by you or an authorized agent to your county election office as late as 8 p.m. on Election Day.
- Look up where to return your ballot for all Pennsylvania counties. List of Philadelphia drop boxes is here.
- A note from the Philadelphia Election Commissioners: "Voters may only drop off their own ballot unless the voter is physically unable to personally submit their Absentee or Mail-in Ballot and has designated an agent to deliver their ballot and the completed forms are submitted with the ballot. The Designation and Certification of Agent Forms can be downloaded here.”
Helpful tip from My Family Votes: If you're disabled (temporarily or permanently), you may have a trusted family member or friend pick up the application/ballot for you. You both must sign the Designation of Agent form. No printer, no problem. Carefully copy the words down on a sheet of paper for both of you to sign. Your friend or family member must show the form to the office staffer.
Additional Mail-in Ballot Tips
If you cannot hand deliver your ballot to the Board of Elections: You can still go your polling location. Bring your ballot and voter declaration envelope to your polling location, sign that you have not already voted, and vote in person.
What if your mail-in ballot doesn’t come in the mail?
Call the election office for your county. Explain your situation and request a “replacement ballot.” To get connected to your county, call 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772). NOTE: The Philadelphia County Board of Elections is 215-686-3469.
If you have difficulty connecting, call 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) and explain that you tried to call your local board of elections. If this doesn't work, please call 1-866-OUR-VOTE to get assistance and/or file a complaint.
What if your mail-in ballot did not come in time?
Anyone who requested a mail ballot can vote in person on a provisional (paper) ballot. You won’t be allowed to vote on the city’s new voting machines, but you can vote by paper ballot and it will be counted later. You still have the right to vote!
How do I fill out the mail-in ballot?
Make sure to still sign your ballot and seal it in the privacy envelope that it came with.
I want to vote in person on May 18. Where is my polling site?
Find a polling site
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Confirm your polling place because of COVID-19 challenges.)
You have the right and freedom to vote
- Call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) if you have issues voting or have questions about your voting rights or polling place, and you’ll be connected to a nonpartisan trained volunteer who can help you
- Voter rights information
I didn't apply for a mail-in ballot and can't get to the polls. Do I have any other options?
**If you were planning to vote in-person but can no longer do so because you are quarantining or have experienced an emergency, click below for assistance**
For emergencies after the May 11 deadline: Any voter who has not applied for a mail-in or absentee ballot may apply for an emergency absentee ballot if they are unable to vote at the polls because they are ill, disabled, or traveling outside of their voting district. Helpful details located here.
What’s on the ballot?
- The VOTE411 Election Voter Guide for 2021 Primary
- Spotlight PA Guide to PA’s 2021 Primary Ballot Questions
How Do I Vote Safely at the Polls?
- While vote-by-mail is encouraged as the safest voting option this election cycle, we understand that voters may need or choose to vote at physical polling locations. If you are planning to or must vote in person, please make safety a priority. Continue to social distance and wear protective face masks and other necessary protective gear.
- To personally be prepared, you can bring your own pen to use, if necessary, for filling out any information. Bring any personal sanitizer to use while voting.
Additional helpful resources
Who can vote in Pennsylvania?
Citizens over the age of 18 and who registered on or before May 3, 2021. You can vote if you are on probation or on parole, serving time for a misdemeanor, in jail awaiting trial, on house arrest, or have a previous felony.
Register to vote
Visit Vote for Homes for more information and voter education materials. Together we can work to ensure that all voices are heard and we can hold our elected leaders accountable.