This post was written by Joel Landau

As the November 3 election approaches, the City Commissioners and the City of Philadelphia are working to accommodate all eligible voters to ensure anyone who chooses to vote by mail can successfully cast their ballot.

As residents continue to try to socially distance and stop the spread of COVID-19, more voters may decide to vote by mail this year. To support new mail-in ballot voters, we published an illustrated mail-in ballot guide.

About the guide

The guide is available in multiple languages and explains what to expect when you go to fill out your mail-in-ballot, such as the candidates who are up for election, ballot questions, and contact information for local election offices.

The guide also explains how to apply for a mail-in ballot, how to fill it out with your choices, sign it, seal it, and deliver it to the Philadelphia County Board of Elections.

Making sure your ballot is counted

It is essential that voters carefully follow the guidelines before sending in their vote. Every election, mail-in-ballots are rejected for a variety of factors.

To ensure your ballot is counted make sure to:

  • Mail in your ballot early. Your ballot must be received by the County Board of Elections no later than 5 p.m. on November 6, and either postmarked by November 3 or there is no evidence to suggest they were sent after Election Day. This means you should place your ballot in the mail as soon as possible so it can be delivered by the deadline. 
  • Fill out each section of the ballot properly.
  • Sign your ballot.
  • Fill out your ballot in blue or black ink pen
  • Include all materials and enclose them properly. 
  • Enclose your ballot in the secrecy envelope before putting it in the outer envelope.
  • Confirm you are eligible to vote in Philadelphia County. Check your voter status here.
  • Follow all instructions provided. 

By paying attention to the instructions, you give yourself the best chance to ensure your vote will be successfully processed and counted in the upcoming election!

Important Dates

  • 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.
    • You should mail your ballot as promptly as possible by Election Day or personally deliver it to the County Board of Elections office, satellite office, or drop box no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

The United States Postal Service recommends that you mail your ballot at least seven days before November 3, Election Day, to ensure it arrives on time.

For questions about the mail-in ballot process contact the Philadelphia County Board of Elections at (215) 686-3469.