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United Way of Lancaster County


FAQ: The April 23 primary election


Pennsylvania’s 2024 primary election will take place Tuesday, April 23.

Republican and Democratic voters will choose their party’s candidates for various state and national offices, including president; state and U.S. House and Senate; and three state offices: attorney general, auditor general, and treasurer. The winners will compete in November’s general election.

Voters will also select delegates to their parties’ national conventions.

In the presidential race, President Biden and former President Trump have already clinched, respectively, the Democratic and Republican party nomination. Nevertheless, each will have a challenger on the primary ballot: U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota on the Democratic side, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on the Republican.

If you are not yet registered to vote, next Monday, April 8, is the last day to do so before the primary. The deadline to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot is 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 15.

For more information and online tools to set up and manage your voter registration, visit Vote.Pa.Gov. You can also visit the Lancaster County Elections Office at 150 N. Queen St., Lancaster.

Below is an FAQ for Lancaster County voters. You may also want to read the county board of elections’ “Tips on How to Be a Prepared Voter.”  This year, for the first time, the county has posted videos about voting by mail and in person; they can be viewed here.

Additional information is available on the board of elections’ website and on the commonwealth’s online Voting Guide.

When will the polls be open?

From 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23.

How do I find my polling place?

Visit this link.

How do I find out who is on the ballot?

Use the Lancaster County Specimen Ballot Viewer. The county has posted links to candidate lists here.

How late can I return a mail-in ballot?

Your ballot must arrive at the county elections office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Postmarks do not count. If you don’t think there’s enough time left, return your ballot by hand to the county Elections Office, 150 N. Queen St., Lancaster.  The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ballots must be handed in at the office counter (Suite 117).

The office will offer extended hours in the runup to the day of the primary, as follows:

  • Thursday, April 18, and Friday, April 19: 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 20: 8 to 11 a.m.
  • Tuesday, April 23 (Election Day): 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

What voting system does Lancaster County use?

Lancaster County uses paper ballots that voters fill in by hand. They are then scanned. Click here for a step-by-step guide to the process.

Do I need ID?

First-time voters in a precinct will be asked for identification. Thereafter, it is not required.

Joseph Vodvarka’s name is seen on a sample Lancaster County 2024 primary ballot. The Pa. Supreme Court in late March upheld a lower court ruling that Vodvarka is ineligible. Click to enlarge. (Source: Lancaster County)

Is everyone on the ballot an eligible candidate?

Normally, the answer would be yes. Because the county’s printing deadlines came before one election challenge could be fully resolved, however, the name of would-be U.S. Senate candidate Joseph Vodvarka will appear on Lancaster County’s Republican primary ballots, even though he has been deemed ineligible.

Vodvarka had appealed a lower court’s ruling keeping him off the ballot to the state Supreme Court, which did not issue its order upholding the lower court’s decision until March 22. By that point, Lancaster County had already had its ballots printed with his name on them. Given the election timeline and the logistics involved, the county simply could not afford to delay the printing any further, Chief Elections Clerk Christa Miller said.

Similar situations have occurred before, Miller said. Notices advising voters of Vodvarka’s disqualification are being sent out with all mail-in ballots and will be posted prominently at polling places. Votes for Vodvarka will not be counted.

Where can I learn more about the candidates?

Independent watchdog publication Spotlight PA has brief summaries of the races in its 2024 primary election guide, which links to the watchdog publication’s profiles of the candidates for attorney general, auditor general and treasurer.

In Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, the nominations of Republican Dave McCormick and incumbent Democrat Bob Casey are both unopposed. (As noted above, Joseph Vodvarka’s name will appear with McCormick’s on Republican ballots, but Vodvarka is not an eligible candidate.)

In the U.S. House, Lancaster County is represented by Republican Lloyd Smucker, who is seeking a fifth term. His nomination is unopposed, as is that of Democrat Jim Atkinson, who plans to challenge him this fall. (Another prospective Democratic candidate, Dave Baker, ended his campaign early this year.)

In southern Lancaster County, landscaper Dave Nissley is challenging House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler. Lancaster County’s other state House members are unopposed in their respective primaries, as is Republican state Sen. Scott Martin.

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