Absentee and Mail-in Ballot
As a result of Act 77, Pennsylvania voters now have two options to receive and vote a ballot prior to election day. You may either choose an absentee ballot or a mail-in ballot to request, complete, and return to the Voter Registration Office. Please read the following descriptions to determine which ballot you should apply for.
Absentee Ballot Application (For voters who can’t go to the polls on Election Day)
A voter may apply for and receive an absentee ballot for the upcoming election if they are registered to vote and fall into one of the following criteria:
- A person is absent from their municipality the entire time the polls are open (example: college students, vacationers, truck drivers, etc.)
- Those who cannot attend the polls because of illness or disability
- A person who will not go to the polls because of observing a religious holiday
- Inmates who haven’t been convicted of a felony
Mail-in Ballot Application (For voters who don’t want to go to the polls on Election Day)
A voter may apply for and receive a mail-in ballot for the upcoming election if they are registered to vote and who are not eligible for an absentee ballot but who wish to vote by mail instead of in person at the polling place. No excuse or reason is required.
How does a member of the military vote?
Military and Overseas Civilians must submit a Federal Post Card Application by going to www.fvap.gov.
What is an annual Mail-in ballot request?
A voter now has the option to request to be added to an annual mail-in ballot request list by checking the designated box under Item #7 on the application. Once your application is approved, you will automatically receive ballots for the remainder of that year without submitting a new application request form. You will also receive an application to renew your mail-in ballot request each year thereafter.
If I requested an annual Mail-in or Absentee ballot for the last election but have changed my mind and now wish to vote in-person, what do I need to do?
A voter will need to complete a Request to Cancel Permanent Mail-in or Absentee Ballot Status form and submitt it to the Voter Registration Office.
How to Apply for an Absentee Ballot or Mail-in Ballot
A voter who desires to vote by absentee ballot or mail-in ballot must complete an application and submit it to their County Board of Elections in one of the following ways:
1. Apply online at https://www.votespa.com/ApplyAbsentee. (Voter must have a PA Driver’s License or PA Identification Card to use this option)
2. Download and print a PDF application and send it to the address listed below.
3. Voter may apply in person at the Voter Registration Office at the Franklin County Courthouse, Memorial Square, 2 N. Main St., Chambersburg, PA (Hours: Monday - Friday; 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) IMPORTANT: Cellphones are not permitted in the Courthouse.
4. Voters may request an absentee ballot application by calling 717-261-3886.
All applications can be mailed to:
Voter Registration Office
157 Lincoln Way East
Chambersburg, PA 17201
or faxed to (717) 261-3131
What is the Deadline to Apply for an Absentee or Mail-in Ballot?
All applications must be completed, signed by the elector, and received by the Franklin County Voter Registration Office no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before each election. There are provisions made for individuals that need an emergency ballot after the Tuesday before the election. Contact the Franklin County Voter Registration Office at 717-261-3886 for additional details.
When can a voter expect to receive their ballot?
Counties are authorized to begin processing applications more than 50 days before the election. Beginning 50 days before the election, counties must begin transmitting ballots as soon as the ballot is certified and the ballots are available. Counties may await the result of a court proceeding that would affect the content of ballots before delivering them but in any case, counties must begin to send them out no later than the second Tuesday before the election.
How do I vote with an Absentee or Mail-in ballot?
1. Mark your paper ballot, following the instructions found on the ballot.
2. Place your ballot in the secrecy envelope and then put the secrecy envelope into the official envelope. Be sure to sign the envelope or your ballot may not count.
3. Return your voted ballot to the Voter Registration Office, either in-person or by mail, making sure it arrives on time.
What is the Deadline to Return the Voted Absentee or Mail-in Ballot?
Voted ballots must be received in-person by the County no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3rd or placed in the mail to be postmarked Nov. 3rd. These ballots will be counted as long as they are received by the County no later than Friday, Nov. 6th. When returning a ballot by mail, please allow three (3) days for local delivery and 4-5 days for longer distances.
How does a voter get placed on a permanent absentee list if they have a permanent disability?
A voter must complete Section C on the Application for Absentee Ballot which requires a physician’s signature. Once you are on this list, you will have an absentee ballot application mailed to you by the first Monday in February each year. If you complete and return the application, the county will send you ballots in the mail for all the elections that take place that year, as well as for any special election held through the third Monday of February of the next year.
** Unless a voter is disabled and needs assistance to deliver an absentee ballot to the Voters Registration Office, it is illegal under Pennsylvania law for anyone other than the voter to hand-deliver an absentee ballot to the County. Delivery of absentee ballots cast by voters who are not disabled may be delivered only by U.S. mail or by the voter in person. **