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- Voter and Election Information
April 13, 2023
Voting By Absentee Or Mail-in Ballot
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – As a result of Act 77 of 2019, Pennsylvania voters now have two options to receive and vote a ballot prior to Election Day. Voters may choose either an absentee ballot or a mail-in ballot. 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.
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 a voter is on this list, he or she will have an absentee ballot application mailed to them by the first Monday in February each year. If the voter completes and returns the application, the county will send the voter 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.
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 the application is approved, the voter will automatically receive ballots for the remainder of that year without submitting a new application request form. The voter will also receive an application to renew his or her mail-in ballot request each year thereafter.
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 his or her county Board of Elections in one of the following ways:
1. Apply online at https://www.vote.pa.gov/ApplyMailBallot (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. Applications in both English and Spanish can be found on the Franklin County’s website or the state’s website, https://www.vote.pa.gov.
3. Voters may request an absentee or mail-in ballot application by calling 717-261-3886.
4. Apply in person at the Franklin County Voter Registration Office between 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday.
All applications can be mailed to:
Voter Registration Office
272 N. Second St.
Chambersburg, PA 17201
or faxed to (717) 261-3131
When will ballots be available for the May 16 Municipal Primary?
Ballots are now available. Franklin County will begin mailing out ballots on April 17 to those who have submitted an application.
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 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9. There are provisions made for individuals who need an emergency ballot after the Tuesday before the election. Contact the Franklin County Voter Registration Office at 717-261-3886 for additional details.
How do I vote with an absentee or mail-in ballot?
1. Mark the paper ballot, following the instructions found on the ballot.
2. Place the ballot in the secrecy envelope and then put the secrecy envelope into the official envelope. Be sure to sign and date the envelope with the correct date or the ballot may not count.
3. Return the 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 by the Franklin County Voter Registration Office by 8 p.m. on Election Day, May 16. Postmarks do not count. Voters can also NOT turn in voted ballots to their polling place to be counted. When returning a ballot by mail, please allow three days for local delivery and 4-5 days for longer distances.
IMPORTANT: A voter who applies for an absentee ballot or mail-in ballot is not eligible to vote at a polling place on Election Day, except by provisional ballot.
Will my ballot be counted if it is considered “naked”?
A decision handed down by the PA Supreme Court in the PA Democratic Party et al v. Boockvar et al holds that an absentee or mail-in elector’s failure to enclose a ballot in a secrecy envelope renders the ballot invalid and it will NOT be counted. Voters receiving either an absentee or mail-in ballot are strongly urged to ensure placement of their voted ballot in the envelope marked “Official Election Ballot” before placing it in the outer envelope that includes the Voter’s Declaration on the back.
Will my ballot be counted if it is not signed and/or dated correctly?
Based on current state law, if the voter’s declaration on the return envelope is not signed or dated or is dated with a date deemed to be incorrect, it is considered a fatal defect and the ballot return envelope must be set aside and the ballot NOT counted.
Where can I drop off my voted ballot if I don’t want to mail it?
If a voter wishes to return his or her ballot in-person, only the actual voter may hand deliver the ballot unless the voter is disabled and authorizes a designated agent to return the ballot. While Franklin County will not be utilizing drop boxes due to security concerns, there is a drop off location available to return voted ballots, Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm at
Voter Registration Office
Franklin County Administration Building
272 N. Second St., Chambersburg
Look for the “Ballot Drop Off Location” signs to help identify the correct drop off location. There are designated “15-minute parking” spots and handicapped parking spots by the front entrance.
What are the rules concerning authorization of a designated agent for those with disabilities?
If a voter has a disability and is unable to pick-up or deliver his or her absentee or mail-in application or voted ballot, he or she may designate an agent to do so on their behalf. The voter must complete a “Designated Agent Authorization Form,” which can be found on the county’s website or by contacting the Franklin County Board of Elections Office at 717-261-3812.
What are the rules concerning absentee/mail-in ballots and in-person Election Day voting?
1) If a voter receives an absentee or mail-in ballot and returns the voted ballot to the county, the voter may not vote at his or her polling place on Election Day.
2) If a voter receives an absentee or mail-in ballot and takes it with them to their polling place, the voter may surrender the absentee or mail-in ballot AND declaration envelope to the Judge of Elections to be voided. Upon completion of a declaration form, the voter will be given a regular ballot to vote and scan into the precinct counter.
3) If a voter is unable to return a voted absentee or mail-in ballot by the deadline and does not take it with them to their polling place, the voter may only vote by provisional ballot on Election Day. This will ensure that a voter does not vote more than once since staff will not count the provisional ballot before confirming that the absentee or mail-in ballot was not received.
Any questions concerning absentee ballots should be directed to the Franklin County Voter Registration Office at 717-261-3886 or theFranklin County Board of Elections at 717-261-3810. Additional election information is available on the county’s website, www.franklincountypa.gov.
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