How to Make Sure Your Vote Counts in Pennsylvania This November

What you need to know ahead of the midterm elections, including key deadlines and how to vote by mail in Pennsylvania.

Somehow it’s already time for the midterm elections—and just like in 2020, the stakes are high in Pennsylvania. As a perpetual swing state with the power to potentially define the Senate, not to mention statewide public policy, it’s more important than ever to be informed, cast your vote, and make it count.

If you’re not yet registered to vote, there’s still time to do so for this year’s election. But if you’re already registered, it’s the perfect time to get a head start on your voting plan and get informed. From key races to all the logistical questions you may have about voting, here’s everything you need to know to make your voice heard in the midterm elections in Pennsylvania.

What’s on the ballot: key races and issues

No matter where you’re voting from, these key races will be on the ballot. Our state’s governor will be decided this year from the pool of candidates Democrat Josh Shapiro (the state’s attorney general) and Republican Doug Mastriano (a state senator), as well as three third-party candidates: Christina Digiulio (Green Party), Joe Soloski (Keystone Party), and Matt Hackenburg (Libertarian). Spotlight PA offers a comprehensive look on where the candidates stand on major issues.

The role of lieutenant governor tends to be a more low-profile gig, chairing the Board of Pardons and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, as well as checking up on the many local government agencies across the state. But the lieutenant governor also serves as the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. On the ballot for the position is Democrat Austin Davis, Republican Carrie DelRosso, Green Party Michael Bagdes-Canning, Keystone Nicole Shultz, and Libertarian Tim Mcmaster.

This election could make or break the Democrats’ majority in the US Senate, and as a swing state, Pennsylvania could be one of the biggest deciding factors. Up for the vote is Democrat John Fetterman, the current lieutenant governor, whose main opponent is Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz, a retired surgeon and TV personality from New Jersey. Third party candidates include Richard Weiss (Green Party), Daniel Wassmer (Keystone), and Erik Gerhardt (Liberatrian). There are also two write-in campaigns for senate: Ron Johnson of the Constitution Party and Independent Everett Stern.

From district to district, voters will also choose representatives to Congress and the state House. Use this Pennsylvania Department of State tool to find your district. Check out Vote411.org for a comprehensive look at the races you can expect on your ballot based on your address.

What’s the deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania?

You have until October 24 to register to vote in order to cast a ballot in the Pennsylvania midterm election on November 8. Registrants must be 18 years old, a US citizen, and have been a Pennsylvania resident for at least 30 days prior to the election. Pennsylvania offers online registration, as well as registration by mail and in-person at your county voter registration office.

How to register to vote in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, you can register to vote online by filling out this form. You can also print out a copy of the voter registration, physically fill it out, and mail it to your county voter registration office. Find the address to mail your registration by clicking on your county here and use the address listed under Voter Registration. The county election office must receive your application by October 24.

You can register in person at the county voter registration office (again, find it here) by filling out the application and handing it to the clerk. Other locations where you can register in person include Pennsylvania Department of Transportation locations, armed forces recruitment centers, and state offices that provide public assistance and services to people with disabilities.

Check your voter registration status by typing in your name or driver’s license or PennDOT ID number here. This will tell you if you’re already registered or not.

Can I vote early?

Pennsylvania offers in-person absentee voting now though Tuesday, November 1. If you’re a registered voter interested in this option, apply for a mail-in ballot in person at your county board of elections office. You can complete and cast your ballot while there. Your PennDOT ID number, or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number, are required for your absentee or mail-in ballot form. Keep in mind you will not be able to register to vote and cast your ballot on the same day.

Can I vote by mail?

You bet. Voters in Pennsylvania can elect to vote by mail without an excuse. Unlike the 2020 election, however, ballots MUST be received by the time polls close on Election Day in order to be counted, so the earlier the better. To apply for an absentee or mail-in ballot, fill out this form online or print and fill out a hard copy and send it to your county elections office. You can also request in person at your county elections office.

How to find your polling place

Use this simple tool from the Pennsylvania Department of State to find your polling place, as well as accessibility and directional information.

How to volunteer to be a poll worker

Want to give democracy a helping hand? Volunteer as a poll worker this election day by filling out the Pennsylvania Poll Worker Interest Form. Poll workers must be registered voters at the address where they reside in Pennsylvania and cannot be government officials or employees. Poll workers typically work for the entire election day, from 7 am to 8 pm, and receive mandatory training. Learn more about the work here.

Additional Pennsylvania voting resources

Marielle Mondon is a writer from Philadelphia. Follow her @MarielleMondon on Twitter and Instagram.