Election Day is Tuesday, November 3.

Voting is one of the most important things U.S. citizens can do. Our city benefits when everyone makes their voice heard.

Whether voters choose to vote by mail or at the polls, all voting options are safe, legitimate, and secure.

This post will cover how Philadelphians can:

  • Register to vote
  • Apply to vote by mail-in or absentee ballot
  • Turn in a mail-in ballot
  • Vote at the polls

Here are important dates and information for the upcoming election.


Register to vote

To register to vote in Philadelphia, you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States for at least one month before the next election.
  • A resident of Philadelphia and your election district for at least 30 days before the next election
  • At least 18 years of age on or before the day of the next election.

If you are mailing your registration form, make sure to mail it early! Voter registration applications must be received by October 19, 2020

Learn more about registering to vote.

Not sure if you are registered? You can check your voter registration status online.


Apply to vote by mail-in or absentee ballot

Applications must be received by the county election office by October 27, 2020 by 5 p.m.

It’s recommended that you submit your application for a mail-in or absentee ballot two weeks before the deadline.

Mail-in ballot

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more voters may choose to vote from home this year. All voters have the option to vote by mail-in ballot rather than going to their polling place on Election Day. You do NOT need to provide a reason or excuse if you want to use a mail-in ballot. 

Please note that you must be a registered voter to submit an application. 

How to apply

If you’re a voter with a valid PA Driver’s License or PennDOT ID number, you may apply with the online form

If you do not have one of these ID numbers, you will need to download a paper application from the Pennsylvania voter services website and mail it to the County Board of Elections or drop it off in person at the County Election office

Make sure to submit your request early! Mail-in or absentee ballot applications must be received by October 27, 2020 at 5 p.m. 

The USPS recommends that voters send their mail-in ballot applications at least 15 days prior to the October 27 deadline, and that voters mail their voted ballots no later than 7 days before Election Day, November 3.

Check the status of your mail-in ballot

Once you submit your mail-in ballot application, you can check its status by going to pavoterservices.gov. You can also call the Pennsylvania Department of State at 1 (877) 868-3772.

If you apply online, you’ll be able to view the status of your application within 48 hours after submitting it. In addition, if you provide an email address when you apply, you should receive emails from Pennsylvania Voter Services. These messages will alert you to the status of your application and tell you when you should receive your ballot in the mail.

If you are unsure if you have already signed up to receive a mail-in ballot, you can check at votesPA.com/MailBallotStatus.

Absentee ballot

You can vote by absentee ballot if you’re going to be away from home on Election Day. You can also vote this way if you’re unable to vote in person due to:

  • A disability.
  • An illness.
  • Job duties.
  • Observance of a religious holiday.

Learn more about absentee ballots.


Turn in your mail-in ballot

Mail-in ballots will be accepted if they are received by 5 p.m. on Friday, November 6 and were either postmarked by November 3 or there is no evidence to suggest they were sent after Election Day.

By mail

You can send your ballot in by mail. The postage is prepaid. It’s recommended that you mail your ballot at least two weeks before November 3 to ensure it arrives on time. 

The USPS recommends that voters send their mail-in ballot applications at least 15 days prior to the October 27 deadline, and that voters mail their voted ballots no later than 7 days before Election Day, November 3.

In person

You will be able to drop off your ballot at one of the following locations:

Go to the City Commissioner’s website to learn more about drop-off locations. You can also call the Philadelphia County Board of Elections at (215) 686-3469.


Vote at the polls

You can vote in person by going to your polling place on Election Day. This location is assigned to you based on the address you used when registering to vote. Voting locations will be equipped to follow current COVID-19 safety guidelines to ensure the health and safety of all voters.

If you need language support at the polls, you can bring someone along to help you vote. This person can’t be your employer or union representative.

You can also ask a poll worker for help if you need an interpreter. They will use the language line service to provide interpretation services for you.

Find your polling place here.


Important dates to remember

Remember, it is recommended that if you are sending any applications or ballots through the mail, make sure to mail them EARLY.

  • October 19 is the deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania.
  • October 27 at 5 p.m. is the last day for your county office to receive mail-in and absentee ballot applications
  • November 3 is the day of the General Election. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. As long as you are in line by 8 p.m., you will be able to vote.
    • Mail-in ballots will be accepted if they are received by 5 p.m. on Friday, November 6 and were either postmarked by November 3 or there is no evidence to suggest they were sent after Election Day.

If you have any other questions, the Philadelphia City Commissioner’s website provides useful information for voters regarding upcoming elections. You can also visit VotesPA for any statewide updates and general information about voting in Pennsylvania.