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Don’t forget to use the secrecy envelope to vote


If you receive an absentee ballot but decide to vote in person you need to bring your absentee ballot with you to the poll, otherwise you can vote by provisional ballot.

The county must receive your completed ballot by 8 p.m. on election day in order to count it. If your ballot arrives after the deadline, it will not count, even if it was postmarked before the deadline. It’s important to know your vote is final once your county receives your voted mail-in ballot, and you are not allowed to go to the polling place to change your vote on election day.

If you do not return your voted mail-in ballot by the deadline and you want to vote in person, you have two options:

1) Bring your ballot and the envelope with the voter’s declaration to your polling place and turn it in so you can vote on your county’s voting system.

2) If you don’t have your ballot, you can vote by provisional ballot at your polling place.

A Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling on Sept. 17 determined that voters must return mail ballots using two envelopes — the secrecy envelope and the larger return envelope — in order for the ballot to count. “Naked ballots” are mail ballots that are returned without being enclosed in the secrecy envelope.

Voting by mail is one of multiple convenient ways to vote in Pennsylvania. With 2.1 million Pennsylvanians signed up to vote by mail in November — many of them for the first time — it is critically important that every voter be educated on how to properly mail in the ballot so that their vote will count.

When you receive your mail ballot, it will arrive with both a smaller secrecy envelope and a larger return envelope. Every mail ballot must be filled out correctly and sent back to your local county elections office in these two envelopes.

Here’s how to vote by mail:

- Fill out your ballot with a blue or black pen.

- Seal your ballot in the secrecy envelope. You must use the secrecy envelope in order for your ballot to count.

- Put the secrecy envelope containing the ballot into the larger return envelope. The return envelope has the address of your county elections office on one side.

- Complete and sign the voter declaration on the back of the return envelope in order for your ballot to count.

- Return your ballot — by mail, in person at your county elections office, or other official drop-off location.

Voters can visit for information on how to vote in Pennsylvania, including easy to follow step-by-step instructions on how to cast their ballots and drop-off locations for mail ballots.