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Pennsylvania elections 2023: What to know before you vote

Pennsylvanians have until Nov. 7 to vote in municipal and judicial elections.

By Anna Gustafson - October 18, 2023
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Election workers perform a recount of ballots from the recent Pennsylvania primary election at the Allegheny County Election Division warehouse in Pittsburgh on June 1, 2022.
Election workers perform a recount of ballots from the recent Pennsylvania primary election at the Allegheny County Election Division warehouse in Pittsburgh on June 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Pennsylvanians are now casting their ballots for the Nov. 7, 2023 election. In the days leading up to the election, here’s what to know about voting locations, registering to vote, ways to vote, reporting voter intimidation, and more.

When and where to vote in person on Election Day

On Nov. 7, Pennsylvania polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters can find their polling places on the Pennsylvania secretary of state’s voter services website.

Registering to vote

County election offices must receive voter registration applications by 5 p.m. on Oct. 23 from unregistered Pennsylvania residents who wish to vote in the Nov. 7 election. Voters can check their voter registration status here.

To be eligible to vote in an election, a voter must be a citizen of the United States for at least one month before the election; a resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which the voter plans to register at least 30 days before the election; and at least 18 years old on or before the day of the election.

Eligible people can register to vote online, by mail, at the county voter registration office, at PennDOT offices, or at certain other government offices.

Mail-in ballots

Registered Pennsylvania voters have until 5 p.m. on Oct. 31 to apply for a mail-in ballot for the Nov. 7 election.

Voters can request their mail-in ballot, complete it, and return it to their county election office until 5 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Some counties provide drop boxes or drop-off sites for completed mail-in ballots. See a list of drop box and drop-off locations here.

Mail-in ballots must be received by a voter’s county board of elections by 8 p.m. on Nov. 7. Ballots received after the deadline will not be counted, even if they contain a postmark dated before the deadline.

Voters who received a mail-in ballot but were not able to return it in time may still vote in person on Election Day if they bring their mail-in ballot and outer return envelope with them to be voided. After they surrender those materials and sign a declaration, they can then vote with a regular ballot.

How to change your political party affiliation

To change party affiliation, an individual can fill out a voter registration form and select the box that says “change of party.” For the change to be valid before Nov. 7, it must be submitted at least 15 days prior.

What to bring to vote on Election Day

Those voting at a polling place for the first time must show proof of identification. Those who have previously voted at the polling place do not need identification.

Approved forms of photo identification include

  • Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT ID card.
  • ID issued by any commonwealth agency.
  • ID issued by the U.S. government.
  • U.S. passport.
  • U.S. Armed Forces ID.
  • Student ID.
  • Employee ID.

Voters without photo ID may use the following non-photo identification if it includes the voter’s name and address:

  • Confirmation issued by the county voter registration office.
  • Non-photo ID issued by the commonwealth.
  • Non-photo ID issued by the U.S. government.
  • Firearm permit.
  • Current utility bill.
  • Current bank statement.
  • Current paycheck.
  • Government check.

What happens if poll workers can’t find a voter’s name? 

Polling place officials should call the county board of elections to determine if a voter is registered. If the county cannot find a voter’s name, but the voter believes they are registered, the voter may vote with a provisional ballot.

How to report voter intimidation

Threatening, harassing or intimidating voters outside or inside the polling place, at secure ballot receptacles, at mailboxes, or at county election offices is illegal. Voters should report intimidation to their county board of elections and district attorney.

Voters should also report the intimidation to the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling 1-877-VOTESPS (1-877-868-3772).

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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