Voting by Mail in Chester County
Any qualified voter in Pennsylvania can request a “no-excuse” mail-in ballot. Voting by mail is a safe, secure, and flexible way to ensure that your vote is counted and your voice is heard in this crucial election.
Step-by-Step Guide to Voting By Mail
You may apply for a Mail-in Ballot if you are a qualified voter. You must be registered to vote in order to vote by mail-in ballot.
Most voters should apply for a mail-in ballot. However, certain voters are eligible for absentee ballots:
- College students who are not registered to vote at their school address
- People whose work or vacation take them away from the municipality where they live
- Those with a physical disability or illness that prevents them from going to the polling place
- Members of the military
- People who may have a conflict due to the celebration of a religious holiday
- Inmates who haven’t been convicted of a felony
- To vote by absentee ballot you must be registered to vote.
A few reasons: This year is the first in which any eligible voter can vote by mail, and due to this new option for all voters and COVID-19 health concerns, most counties are receiving unprecedented numbers of mail-in ballot applications.
Fortunately, Chester County is geared up to be in good shape. Our county was first in Southeastern PA to certify primary election results in 2020. Chester County is also investing in major upgrades to voter services, including guarded and secure dropboxes, additional staff, and increased messaging and awareness in anticipation of the upcoming election.
Contact Chester County Voter Services as soon as possible and let them know that you have not yet received your ballot.
If you don’t receive your ballot by Election Day, you can still vote in person. You will go to your normal polling place and fill out what is called a “provisional ballot.” This ballot will be counted after verifying that your mail-in ballot was never received.
No. Mail-in ballots cannot be returned to your local polling place. However, you can drop off your ballot up to 8 p.m. on Election Day at any of the county’s dropboxes.
First, remember that you can return a completed ballot to the Voter Services office or any of the secure dropboxes by 8 p.m. on Election Day, so if you have your mail-in ballot, we encourage you to do so.
However, if you do arrive to vote at your local polling place, and you have already received a mail-in ballot, you will be asked to vote in-person using a “provisional ballot.” This ballot will be counted after Voter Services verifies that your requested mail-in ballot was never returned.
The staff of the United States Postal Service (USPS) receive special training for handling election and campaign mail. They have also been meeting with election officials in each county on a regular basis about the upcoming election and how to manage the related mail stream. There are protocols in place for managing the higher volume of election mail in 2020, but we definitely encourage all voters to return their ballots as soon as possible to ensure arrival before the deadline.
Some nonpartisan groups have been sending pre-filled voter applications to registered voters in an effort to make it easier to request a mail-in ballot. Your name, address, party affiliation, and voting history (whether or not you have voted, not who you voted for) are all public on the county’s voter rolls and may be accessed by request.
Most of these mailings are done in good faith by legitimate organizations using publicly available data. However, if you have any concerns about an application provided by a third party, simply apply on the VotesPA website instead.