Frequently Asked Questions about Voting by Mail

How do I apply to vote by mail?

Click here to apply online. LCDC can also mail you a paper application, please email for more information.

You may have opted to automatically receive a vote by mail ballot for each election. Check your status on the Department of State’s online ballot tracker. If your ballot status is “pending” you will automatically receive a ballot by mail. No further action is necessary.

You may also check your status by calling the Lancaster County Voter Registration Office at 717-299-8293.

When is the deadline to apply to vote by mail?

The last day to apply to vote by mail is May 11th. However, due to processing and mailing times, we highly recommend applying as soon as possible. If you apply to vote by mail close to the May 11th deadline, plan to return your ballot directly to the Lancaster County Voter Registration Office (150 N. Queen Street, Suite 117) by 8:00 p.m. on May 18th. Postmarks are not accepted.

I voted by mail in the 2020 General Election. Will I automatically receive a ballot for this year’s Primary Election?

You may have opted to automatically receive a vote by mail ballot for each election. Check your status on the Department of State’s online ballot tracker. If your ballot status is “pending” you will automatically receive a ballot by mail. No further action is necessary.

You may also check your status by calling the Lancaster County Voter Registration Office at 717-299-8293.

I applied for a mail-in ballot, but I haven’t received it yet. When will I receive it?

The Lancaster County Voter Registration office will begin mailing ballots the week of April 6th. If you do not receive your ballot, contact the Voter Registration Office at 717-299-8293.

How much time do I have to return my mail-in ballot once I receive it?

All ballots must be received by the Lancaster County Voter Registration by 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18th (Primary Election day.) We recommend returning your ballot as soon as possible once you receive it. If you receive it less than one week before Primary Election day, you should plan to return it in person to the Lancaster County Voter Registration Office (150 N. Queen Street, Suite 117) or plan to vote in-person on Election Day at your polling place by surrendering your entire mail-in ballot (including all envelopes.)

What is a ‘naked ballot’? Will ‘naked ballots’ be counted?

A ‘naked ballot’ is one that is not placed into the security (sometimes called secrecy) envelope before being returned to the Voter Registration Office. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that ‘naked ballots’ may not be counted—so it is essential that voters carefully follow the instructions included with their mail-in ballots.

Can I return my ballot in-person?

Yes! Voters can turn in their ballots at the Lancaster County Voter Registration Office (150 N. Queen Street, Suite 117.) The Voter Registration Office is open business days 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and will be open on Election Day (May 18th) from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Please note, ballots must be returned by the voter themselves, not a proxy.

Will there be a ballot drop box?

There will be one drop box available for all of Lancaster County, in the lobby of the Lancaster County Government Center (150 N. Queen Street, Chestnut Street entrance) before going through security. Each voter can only drop off their own mail-in or absentee ballot. ID is not required to use the drop box.

Can I vote early in-person?

Pennsylvania does not offer early in-person voting. However, if you apply for a mail-in ballot in-person at the Lancaster County Voter Registration Office (150 N. Queen Street, Suite 117) you can receive your ballot on the spot, then fill it out, and return it to the Voter Registration Office or the ballot drop box.

I applied to vote by mail, but would now like to vote in-person.

Voters who receive a mail-in ballot can still vote in-person on Election Day if the surrender their mail-in ballot (including all envelopes) at their polling place. Voters who surrender their compete mail-in ballot packet will surrender their ballot, sign an affidavit, then vote with a regular ballot. Voters who do not surrender a complete mail-in ballot packet will sign an affidavit and vote on a provisional ballot, which will counted once the Voter Registration Office confirms the mail-in ballot was not received.

How do I know if the Voter Registration Office received by Ballot?

You can track your mail-in ballot through the Department of State’s online ballot tracker. Ballots that have been received will have a “vote recorded” status. You can also call the Voter Registration Office at 717-299-8293.

My signature no longer matches how I signed my voter registration application. Will this invalidate my ballot?

Signatures on mail-in ballots will be compared to when a voter last registered to vote, as state law prevents the Voter Registration Office to update signatures from voter logs from polling places. However, the evolution of a voter’s signature will not invalidate the ballot.

My ballot was sent to an address other than the address on my voter registration. Which address should I list on the declaration envelope?

Voters should write in the address where they are registered to vote.

I accidentally wrote my birth date/the wrong date on the declaration envelope. How can I fix it?

Voters can simply cross out (or white out) the incorrect date (or any incorrect information on the declaration envelope) and write the correct information if they have not yet submitted the ballot. If it has already been mailed or delivered, the ballot will still be qualified despite the birth date in the declaration.

I forgot to put my ballot in the secrecy envelope before I returned it. Can I vote in-person instead?

Once a ballot is received by the Voter Registration Office, it is scanned and marked as received. This considers the ballot “cast.” You will not be able to vote in-person on Election Day.

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Page last revised 4/28/2021