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Vote by Mail

All registered Philadelphia voters are entitled to vote by mail. You have two options: Mail-In Ballots and Absentee Ballots. An Absentee Ballot is only for people who will be outside the city on Election Day, or who have an illness or physical disability that would prevent them from attending the polls. Voters requesting an Absentee Ballot must provide a valid reason for receiving the ballot. Mail-In Ballots are available to all voters – no excuse needed!

Did you know?
Absentee Ballots can also be requested due to a religious holiday or obligation and by members of the armed forces.

Apply Online Today! (Requires a Driver’s License/PennDOT ID or scanned signature)

If you want a Mail-In Ballot, make sure to answer no to the questions in the online application.

Already applied? Check the status of your application here!

Rather mail in your application or having trouble with the online application?

Download Mail-In Application Download Absentee Application
Mail-In Instructions Absentee Instructions

Applications must be received by the County Board of Elections by 5:00 PM no later than the Tuesday before the election.

You can mail your application to:

County Board of Elections
City Hall, Room 142
Philadelphia, PA 19107

You can also pickup an application from the County Board of Elections Office in City Hall during normal business hours.

Did you know?
Once ballots are ready to mail, you can apply and get your ballot in person at the County Board of Elections Office all at once!

Permanent Mail-In and Absentee Voters

All voters can join the permanent Mail-In list at any time during the year. To join, simply check the box labeled “I would like to receive mail-in ballots this year and receive annual applications for mail-in ballots each year.”

The permanent absentee voter list is only for voters with a permanent illness or physical disability. To join the permanent absentee list, a voter must submit an absentee application which is signed by their physician on the 2nd page.

Joining the permanent mail-in or absentee list means you’ll get a ballot for every election held that year. You’ll also receive a new application in the mail every February. If you send that back or apply again online, you’ll be covered for the rest of that year too.

Already on the permanent list but changed your mind? If you want to stop receiving automatic ballot applications, you can submit a cancellation form today. Cancelling your permanent status does not cancel your voter registration.

Returning your Ballot

Ballots must be received by the County Board of Elections no later than 8:00 pm on Election Day. Ballots may only be picked up or returned by the voter. The only exception is for voters with an illness or physical disability who correctly complete a designation of agent form, allowing another person to transport your ballot. The form must be signed by both the voter and agent. Agents can only transport ballots for voters of one household per election. Download the designation of agent form here.

You or your agent can submit your ballot in the mail, in person at the County Board of Elections Office, or using an official drop box. Enter your address in the drop box locator app to find the one closest to you!

Important! Ballots cannot be returned to your local polling place on election day.

Getting help filling in your ballot

If you have an illness or physical disability that prevents you from filling in your own ballot, you can get help as long as you and the person helping you complete the Assistance Declaration. The person providing assistance cannot be the voter’s employer, an agent of that employer, an officer or agent of the voter’s union, or the Judge of Elections of the voter’s division.

Voting at the polls after applying for a ballot

Voters who apply to vote by mail can’t vote on the voting machines in the same election without first surrendering their ballot. A voter who receives a vote by mail ballot but decides not to use it must surrender their ballot and voter’s declaration envelope to the judge of election, sign a statement declaring what they’re doing, and then sign the pollbook like normal to vote.

If you don’t bring your ballot and declaration envelope to be spoiled at the polls, the only other way to vote on election day is by receiving a Provisional Ballot. All valid Provisional Ballots are counted in every election! For more information on Provisional Ballots, visit the Provisional Ballot page.

Emergency Absentee Ballot Application

If an emergency (an unexpected trip or illness, for example) comes up after the deadline for absentee ballot applications, you may submit an emergency application to the Board of Elections. To receive an Emergency Absentee Ballot, you must provide a valid emergency reason on your application.

Voters who are over the age of 65 or living with a permanent disability may also obtain an Emergency Alternative Ballot if their polling place is not fully handicapped accessible.

Emergency Applications may not be made prior to 5:00 PM on the Tuesday before the election. Emergency Absentee applications MUST be received by the County Board of Elections in City Hall Room 142, no later than 8:00 PM on Election Day. Postmarks are not honored.

An emergency ballot can only be picked up or returned by someone other than the voter if the voter is ill or physically disabled. An emergency designation of agent form must be completed by the voter and agent for this to be allowed. Agents for Emergency Absentee voters may transport ballots for ill or disabled voters from more than one household.

Download Emergency Absentee Application

Download Emergency Alternative Application

Download Emergency Designation of Agent Form

Additional Resources

Official Notice of Election for Military and Overseas Voters UMOVA notice

Download Fillable FPCA

Mail-In Alternate Language Applications: Spanish (Spanish Instructions), Chinese (Traditional, Simplified), Vietnamese

Absentee Alternate Language Applications: Spanish (Download Spanish Instructions here), Chinese (Simplified, Traditional), Vietnamese.