Skip to content

Pennsylvania

0 /65
Vote at Home Score

2020 General Election

Turnout rate (VEP)

0 %

Votes cast from mailed-out ballots

0 %

2016 General Election

Turnout rate (VEP)

0 %

Votes cast from mailed out ballots

0 %

State election policies as of 2022...

Full Vote-at-Home

0/10

Full Vote-at-Home

Voter automatically mailed ballot for every election

No Excuse Required

6/6

No Excuse Required

No excuse to vote from home

Single Sign-Up

2/6

Single Sign-Up

Voter signs up once to receive mail ballot for all future elections

Local Vote-at-Home Option

0/5

Local VAH Option

Local governments have discretion to conduct full vote-at-home elections

Online Mail Ballot Sign-Up

2/2

Online Mail Ballot Sign-Up

Voter can apply for mail ballot online

Ballot Tracking

2/4

Ballot Tracking

Voter can receive ballot status notifications.

In-Person Ballot Return

4/5

In-Person Ballot Return

Voter has multiple options to return mail ballot in person

Signature Verification

0/5

Signature Verification

Voter signature verified before ballot is counted

Ballot Cure Process

0/4

Ballot Cure Process

Voter can correct issues so ballot can be counted

Prepaid Postage

0/4

Prepaid Postage

Postage-paid return envelopes provided

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

0/4

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

Ballots postmarked by Election Day are accepted

In-Person Voting

2/4

In-Person Return

Physical locations for voters to vote and receive assistance

Pre-Processing

0/3

Signature Verification

Ballots are verified and scanned before Election Day

Mail Ballot Applications

2/2

Mail Ballot Applications

Election officials can mail ballot applications to all voters eligible to vote from home

Ballot Return Assistance

0/2

Ballot Return Assistance

Voters may receive assistance to return their mail ballot

Opportunities

Pennsylvania can reduce costs and increase voter convenience by creating a permanent absentee voting list, where voters can sign up to automatically be sent an absentee ballot for each election without having to re-apply. Expanding Pennsylvania’s permanent absentee option to all residents and making the list truly permanent, rather than from year to year, would save the state significant expenses by cutting down on the requests it needs to process.
Pennsylvania already has some drop boxes and election office drop off, adding more drop boxes and polling place drop off would further lessen the reliance on the postal service and increase voter convenience and confidence. We also recommend including provisions to allow for ballots to be received at polling places and other locations deemed necessary by clerks.
As use of absentee ballots increases, it is important to make sure that the ballots received are being filled out by the individuals they were sent to. Signature verification procedures ensure the security of the election process while also streamlining ballot processing.
In the event that a voter’s ballot is rejected, said voter should have the ability to cure any correctable issues with their ballot quickly and simply to lower rejection rates. As more voters use absentee ballots and, understandably, the number of rejected absentee ballots increases, we recommend implementing a Text2Cure system that allows voters to cure their ballots from their phones.
Accepting ballots with Election Day postmarks is a best practice to ensure that voters are given all options to vote their ballot in a timely manner. Pennsylvania already has Election Day postmark acceptance for overseas and military voters. The State also had an election day postmark acceptance policy as a temporary measure for the November election; we recommend making this policy permanent. We recommend that, not only does a state allow the physical postmark on a ballot, but that it also integrate into the USPS system for electronic postmarks.
Ballot tracking software such as Ballot Scout or BallotTrax can be a very cost-effective tool to improve Pennsylvania’s current ballot tracking and increase voter confidence. An expanded notification system helps keep rejection rates low and increases voter confidence and participation.
Processing mail ballots to get them ready for counting before election day will help Pennsylvania get faster election results. Preliminary data also suggests that preprocessing helps avoid any blue or red shifts when there are differences in the partisan lean of mail vs. in person ballots, which could increase voter confidence in the results of elections.

Recent Legislation

As of May 26, 2021

In 2020, Pennsylvania implemented emergency measures that assisted voters when casting mail ballots. First, Pennsylvania allowed voters who had requested a mail ballot to vote a provisional ballot in person. Second, Pennsylvania extended the postmark acceptance deadline and accepted ballots that were received by November 6th, so long as they were postmarked by the 3rd. Finally, Pennsylvania implemented drop boxes across the state to expand ballot return options.

Pennsylvania now has the opportunity to strengthen its electoral system by codifying some of these temporary policies and implementing other voter-centric reforms. The Legislature has not yet passed any mail ballot-related legislation this year, but still has the opportunity to do so. The Legislature is currently considering bills related to a permanent absentee voter list, ballot pre-canvassing, a cure process, and the proactive mailing of ballots, among other issues.

Last Updated