Philly Vote By Mail Letter

The 2020 elections may well be the most important in our lifetime. Our state legislature and Governor Wolf, acting in a bipartisan spirit, have enabled us to vote from the safety of our homes. The upcoming June primary election will be an appropriate time to test the state’s capacity to process mail-in ballots. This is the first election when all Pennsylvanians will have the option of voting by mail. We need to make sure the process runs smoothly in the fall when we may still need to be practicing social distancing.

Pennsylvania’s primary election has been moved to June 2 due to COVID-19. For your safety and protection, I urge you to vote by mail in this upcoming election. You can sign up online for an absentee or no excuse needed mail-in ballot. If you include your email address in the mail-in application, you will be able to check your Election Ballot Status.

Philadelphia voters who do not have internet access or do not have a PA driver’s license or state ID should call the Office of the City Commissioners. Leave your name, address, zip code, date of birth and telephone number when asking for a mail-in or absentee ballot application. The deadline to request a ballot is May 26, but it will take time for the city to process an unprecedented number of mail ballot application, so please request your ballot ASAP.

Voting by mail is a secure option that has been successful in other states. According to Amber McReynolds, CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute, “the system has proven to be highly secure, and engages more voters, while significantly lowering costs.”

For assistance, contact these City Commissioners:
Lisa Deeley, 215-686-3460,
Omar Sabir, 215-686-3462,

Be safe.

Vote By Mail Three-Step Process

• Step 1: Get the Absentee or Mail-In Ballot
• Step 2: Complete the Absentee or Mail-In Ballot
• Step 3: Deliver the Absentee/Mail-In Ballot to the right place by the right time

Step 1, Option A: Get the Ballot Online
• Sign up for an Absentee/Mail-In Ballot online at by answering questions:
• Are you a military or overseas civilian absentee voter?
• Are you applying for a ballot because you will be absent from your municipality for the upcoming election?
• Are you applying for a ballot for the upcoming election because you have an illness or physical disability?
• Based on the answers, Absentee or Mail-In Ballot will be mailed

Step 1, Option B: Get the Ballot Through the Mail
• Sign up for an Absentee or Mail-In Ballot
• Download a paper application for an Absentee Ballot or Mail-In Ballot from
• Fill in and sign the paper sign-up form
• Mail the sign-up form to the appropriate County Board of Elections Office
• Requests for Absentee and Mail-In Ballots must be received by the County Board of Elections by 5:00pm the Tuesday before the Election (May 26 / October 27). Postmarks are not accepted. (See Step 3 for deadline to deliver completed ballot.)

Step 2: Complete the Ballot
• Mark the Absentee/Mail-In Ballot, following the instructions
• Place the completed Ballot in the secrecy envelope and then put the secrecy envelope into the outside envelope with the declaration printed on it
• Be sure to sign the form and use the secrecy envelope or Ballot may not count

Step 3: Deliver the Ballot
• Deadline is now 8:00pm on Election Day
• The County Board of Elections Office must receive the marked Absentee/Mail-In Ballot on Election Day by 8:00pm
• Do not deliver the Absentee/Mail-In Ballot to a polling location
• Postmarks are not accepted
• If you mail the Absentee/Mail-In Ballot, it must be RECEIVED by the County Board of Elections by 8:00pm on Election Day

Steps 1, 2, & 3 All At Once
• IN-PERSON EARLY Absentee/Mail-In Balloting
• Go to your County Board of Elections Office – find it here
• The County is required to provide an Absentee or Mail-In Ballot, over-the-counter, while you wait
• Mark the Absentee/Mail-In Ballot in private at the County Board of Elections Office following the County’s instructions carefully
• Hand the completed Ballot back to the County Board of Elections right then and there

Note: The above “Vote By Mail Three-Step Process” was written by the PA Dems Voter Protection Team and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.


Author: Michael Swayze

A retired county welfare agency administrator, who combines social work and computer skills to share information on community resources via the Internet since 1995. Active in voter engagement activities in Philadelphia, PA.

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