(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Time is ticking down for Pennsylvanians looking to vote by mail-in or absentee ballots in this year’s election.

Commonwealth voters are being reminded that they can apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot for the upcoming election until Tuesday, Oct. 31.

“Voting by mail is a safe, secure, and convenient way for Pennsylvanians to make their voices heard this election,” Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt said. “Voters also have the option, until 5 p.m. Oct. 31, to apply for a mail-in ballot in person at their county election office and then cast that ballot all in one visit, ensuring their ballot is received.”

Mail-in ballots 

Any registered Pennsylvania voter can request a no-excuse mail-in ballot. Voters can apply for their ballot online or download and print out an application.

To date, 900,132 voters have applied for mail-in ballots ahead of the Nov. 7 municipal election, according to Schmidt.

Absentee ballots 

Voters who will be away from their home municipality on Election Day or who have a disability or illness that prevents them from going to the polls can apply for an absentee ballot online.  

So far, 71,161 voters have applied for absentee ballots ahead of the Nov. 7 municipal election, according to Schmidt.

Have a mail ballot but want to vote in person?

Voters who received an absentee or mail-in ballot are able to vote in person on Election Day if they bring their unvoted mail ballot and outer envelope with them to be voided.

After they surrender their ballot material and sign a declaration, they can vote through a regular ballot.

Requested a mail ballot but didn’t receive it by Election Day?

Voters who requested a mail ballot and did not receive it or do not have it to surrender can vote by a provisional ballot at their polling place.

The provisional ballot will be reviewed by the county board of elections after Election Day to determine whether it can be counted.

Mail ballot applications must be received by a voter’s county elections board by 5 p.m. Oct. 31.  Votes who’ve received their mail ballot should do the following: 

  • Fill out the ballot by following the instructions on how to mark selections. 
  • Seal the ballot in the inner secrecy envelope marked “official election ballot.” Do not make any stray marks on the envelope. 
  • Then seal the inner secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed outer return envelope.  
  • Sign and write the current date on the voter’s declaration on the outer return envelope. 

Under Pennsylvania law, voters are allowed to mail or hand-deliver only their own ballot to their county board of elections. The only exceptions to this rule are for voters with a disability who designate someone in writing to turn their ballot and for those who need an emergency absentee ballot.

County boards of election offices must receive all completed mail ballots by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 7. Mail ballots received after that time will not be counted. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day for voters who want to vote in person.  

For more information on voting and elections, visit vote.pa.gov or call the Department of State’s year-round hotline at 1-877-868-3772.