How do I get started participating in elections?
Your first step is to register to vote. Please visit our Voter Services page to understand the requirements to become a registered voter.
Do I have to vote according to my registered party in a primary election?
Yes. Pennsylvania has closed primaries which means that only registered Democrats and Republicans may participate in a primary election. Additionally, voters must vote according to their registered party.
Do I have to change my political party to vote for a certain candidate in the general election?
No. There are no separate ballots by political party for the General Election.
Vote-by-Mail Ballot Questions:
Did I sign up to receive a mail-in ballot in November?
If you're not sure if you checked the permanent/annual box on your mail-in application, you can look up your mail ballot status through PA Voter Services. Select “Election Ballot Status” and enter your information. Until the ballot is completed and tested, your status will be listed as "pending." Closer to the election, you will see when your ballot is mailed and when your vote has been received by our office.
If I applied for a vote-by-mail ballot and registered to vote at the same time, will my mail ballot request be rejected if the registration is not finalized first?
No, if you applied for a mail-in ballot at the same time that you registered to vote, your mail-in application will be held until the registration has been completed and verified. You will not be permitted to register to vote and vote at the same time. Your registration must be approved before a ballot can be provided to you, which will take between 24-48 hours.
If I submitted an application for a vote-by-mail ballot and have not received it, should I reapply?
No. If you have submitted an application for a mail-in ballot, please check online to verify your application status at vote.pa.gov, or call the Elections Office. Do not apply more than one time for a mail-in ballot; duplicate applications will only further delay the verification and approval process.
Why do I continue to receive mail-in ballot applications?
The Elections Office is not sending mail-in ballot applications to anyone who has not specifically requested one from the Elections Office. Any mail-in ballot applications that you are receiving are coming from third party groups and not from the York County Elections Office.
I received notification that my vote-by-mail ballot application was rejected. What do I do?
If you receive notification that your mail-in ballot application was rejected, contact the Elections Office at 717-771-9604. Be prepared to address the reasons for rejection of the application. Common reasons for rejection:
- Failure to include apartment number or specific address identification,
- Incorrect birthdate,
- Incorrect Driver License Number,
- Incorrect address and no updated address form is on file, or
- Incomplete application.
When can I expect my vote-by-mail ballot?
Final election ballots must be certified by the State and tested by the Elections Office. The Elections Office tries to get the ballots to voters with the most amount of time as possible to complete their ballots while adhering to statutory deadlines and required testing. Ballots for those individuals that requested annual mail-in ballots before the primary will be processed and mailed first. Applications received after the primary are being reviewed, approved, and processed on a rolling basis.
Where can I return my voter registration or vote-by-mail ballot in-person?
Voters can come in to the Voter Registration and Elections Office to drop off all documents to change or modify your registered elector information or to drop off your voter registration or mail-in ballot applications, including their ballots, in the lower level of the county’s Administrative Center at 28 E. Market St., York, PA 17401. Voters have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to submit their mail-in ballot to the Elections office.
What is the deadline to return my vote-by-mail ballot?
Voters have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to submit their mail-in or absentee ballot to the Elections Office in person by hand delivery. This must be of your own ballot.
Can I return my spouse's, parent's, or adult child's vote-by-mail ballot to the Elections Office?
A registered elector may only return their own ballot to the Elections Office unless they are returning a ballot for a disabled individual which will require that the disabled person and the designated individual complete and sign the Authorized Designated Agent for Mail In or Absentee Ballot (PDF).
Can I withdraw my request for a vote-by-mail ballot and vote in-person?
If you received a ballot in the mail in the primary AND checked the box to annually vote by mail and DO NOT WISH to receive a ballot through the mail in the fall, you can print and fill out a form titled: “REQUEST TO CANCEL PERMANENT ABSENTEE OR MAIL-IN STATUS.” This form is available through the PA Department of State or visiting the York County Elections Office in person. Once filled out, it must be submitted to our office. By state law, we cannot make changes from an email or phone request
If I requested a vote-by-mail ballot and did not return it to the Elections Office by 8 PM on Election Day, can I still vote at my polling place?
If you applied for a vote-by-mail ballot and the ballot was placed in the mail to you, you will be noted in the poll books at your precinct as having received a ballot by mail. You will be permitted to vote by provisional ballot ONLY, UNLESS you bring your ballot and the outer return envelope which contains the voter declaration. You will also be required to sign a declaration certifying that you have not voted by any other method. After the Judge of Elections verifies that you have remitted your ballot and signed the declaration, you will then be permitted to cast a regular vote. If all of these qualifications cannot be met, you will be provided a Provisional Ballot.
Do I have to return my vote-by-mail ballot in the "Secrecy Envelope"?
Yes. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has ruled that your vote-by-mail ballot must be returned to the Elections Office in the envelope on which is printed “Official Election Ballot”, and that envelope must be inside the envelope addressed to the Elections Office. Further, the Official Election Ballot envelope must also be returned without any TEXT, MARK, OR SYMBOL that would reveal your identity, political affiliation, or candidate preference. Any ballots returned with a marked envelope or returned without the “secrecy” envelope must be set aside and will not be counted.
Where can I vote early for the upcoming election?
Pennsylvania DOES NOT permit early voting. Mail-in voting, which allows you to return your completed ballot to the Elections Office before Election Day, is not considered early voting as those ballots cannot be opened and tabulated until Election Day.
Will I be permitted to obtain an in-person or over the counter ballot at the elections office in advance of the upcoming election?
The Pennsylvania Department of State issued guidance on Sept. 28, 2020 regarding this issue. Registered voters can request and cast an absentee or mail-in ballot at the Elections Office during regular business hours in advance of Election Day. The application must be completed and the application must be reviewed and qualified. Once qualified, the voter will be provided a ballot, secrecy envelope, and declaration envelope to be filled out and returned to the office staff. Please note this process will require proof of identification to verify the registered voter and obtain a ballot.
Please note, the Elections Office will close at 3:30 PM each day for processing over-the-counter ballots.
I filled out my mail ballot in blue ink. Will it still be valid?
As long as the circles are darkened you may use blue or black ink for a mail ballot. It is likely a pencil will also have no issues being read by the Central Count Scanner as long as the circles are darkened. Red ink will not be read by the scanners, so please do not use red ink to fill out your ballot.
I signed my name in the declaration area, but put my birthday where today's date should be. Will my ballot be accepted?
Yes, your ballot will be accepted but only if you cross out your birthdate if located in the incorrect area, date the declaration, and initial the change.