An independent news publication of
United Way of Lancaster County


Today is the deadline to apply for a mail ballot for Nov. 8 election


Today, Tuesday, Nov. 1, is the deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot to vote in the Nov. 8 election.

Election offices must receive applications by 5 p.m. today. One option is for voters to apply in person, wait until their eligibility is verified, then casting their ballot in one visit, acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman said.

Voters must make sure their cast ballots reach county election offices by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8. Postmarks do not count. If you are unsure whether your ballot will arrive on time, you should hand-deliver it.

Lancaster County’s Election Office is at the County Government Center, 150 N. Queen St., Lancaster. It is normally open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. It will offer extended drop-off hours as follows:

  • Thursday, Nov. 3, & Friday, Nov. 4: 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 5: 8 to 11 a.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: CLOSED
  • Monday, Nov. 7: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (normal hours)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 8 (Election Day): 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In past elections, a few voters have failed to date the outside envelopes of their mail-in ballots, as required by Pennsylvania’s Act 77. The Department of State says the requirement is unenforceable under controlling state and federal voting rights law, while Republicans say it contributes to ballot security.

The state Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling before the election. (UPDATE: On Tuesday, the court ruled that undated ballots should NOT be counted.) It remains possible the U.S. Supreme Court could weigh in after that. To ensure your ballot is counted, follow all the rules carefully, including dating your envelope.

Once you vote a mail-in ballot, you cannot vote in person. If you receive a mail-in ballot, then decide to vote in person, you must bring your unvoted ballot and envelopes to your polling place to have them voted and sign a declaration.

Voters who requested a mail-in ballot and did not receive it may vote on Election Day by provisional ballot. It will be reviewed by the Board of Elections and checked against mail-in records to determine if it can be counted.