Pa. to allow voters to apply for absentee ballots online


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Pennsylvania voters can now apply for an absentee ballot online.

By Erica Guthrie, Assistant News Editor

Pennsylvania voters who are unable to make it to the polls Nov. 5 can now apply for an absentee ballot online, rather than by mail or in person.

On Monday, Governor Tom Wolf announced in a statement that the program will be open for applications within the next week, and the website will be mobile-friendly.

“Applying for an absentee ballot online will make the process faster and more accessible for thousands of voters,” Wolf said. “This builds on the option to register to vote online which Pennsylvania launched four years ago and it will provide an easier way for people to exercise their right to vote.”

After absentee voters receive their paper ballots, they will still have to mail them or return them to their county’s election office by Nov. 1. If the ballot comes after the Nov. 1 deadline, it will not be counted, regardless of whether or not it is before election day.

This change comes four years after Wolf began an initiative that allowed Pennsylvania residents to register to vote online. Since it began in 2015, 1.4 million people have registered online, according to Wolf’s statement.

For now, the online registration will only be available to those with a PennDOT driver’s license or identification card. By the 2020 election, Wolf plans to expand the program to those without a PennDOT card, overseas voters and military members.

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot this year is Oct. 29, one week before the Nov. 5 election. The absentee ballots will have to be delivered to the voter’s county elections office by Nov. 1, the Friday before the election, as per Election Code.