Student Voting Resources
First-Time Student Voters
Register to Vote
To be eligible to vote in Pennsylvania, you must:
- Be a citizen of the United States for at least one month before the next primary, special, municipal, or general election.
- Be a resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which you want to register and vote for at least 30 days before the next primary, special, municipal, or general election.
- Be at least 18 years of age on or before the day of the next primary, special, municipal, or general election.
You have a choice of which address to use to register to vote:
- You can register and vote where you live while attending college in PA or at your prior home address, provided your family or guardian still reside there.
- If you are registering where you live while attending college in PA, you can use either an on-campus or off-campus address.
- You can only be registered in one place at a time.
Whatever you choose, you have to register to vote at least 15 days before the election.
Look below for more information on voting by mail-in ballot, voting in-person, and tracking your ballot.
“The vote is precious. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society, and we must use it.”- John Lewis | late civil rights activist and member of the US House of Representatives for Georgia
Voting By Mail
How can I vote by mail?
Voting by mail
- Any qualified PA voter can request a mail-in ballot.
- If you are studying abroad and will be out of the country on Election Day, visit the Federal Voting Assistance ProgramOpens In A New Window for information on how to vote while abroad.
- If studying away from college temporarily, such as with your family at their home due to COVID-19 mandated online or distance learning or undertaking an internship or similar program elsewhere in the U.S., you can use the temporary address for your ballot.
How to vote by mail
- Request your mail-in ballot
If you have a PennDOT ID, request a mail-in ballot online.
If you don't have a PennDOT ID, you can print and mail the request form to the county election office in your college's voting district, or to the county election office of the county of your prior home address if you care to vote there.
- Mail-in Ballot Application (English)
- Mail-in Ballot Application (Spanish)
- Don't have a printer? Complete the online request form to have the application mailed to you.
- Return your mail-in ballot
When you get the ballot in the mail, mark it and send it back to your County Election Board or other designated location.
Your voted ballot must arrive at the County Election Office before 8pm on Election Day. Postmarks don't count.
Voting In Person
Headed to the polls on Election Day? Here's what you need to know!
Where is my polling place?
You can find your polling place using the Department of State's online lookup tool.
What can I expect at the polling place?
When you arrive at the polling place, you will check in with the poll workers. Follow their instructions, as the check-in process may have changed.
If you are eligible to vote a regular ballot, you will either hand mark a paper ballot or vote using a ballot marking device. All Pennsylvania voting systems have been updated since 2018, and the voting systems are different from one county to another. Learn about your county's voting system.
If you are not eligible to vote a regular ballot, you may be provided a provisional ballot. Learn about provisional ballots.
What if I requested a mail-in or absentee ballot?
- If you already submitted a mail-in or absentee ballot, you cannot vote at your polling place on election day.
- If you did not return your mail-in or absentee ballot and you want to vote in person, you have two options:
- Bring your ballot and the pre-addressed outer return envelope to your polling place to be voided. After you surrender your ballot and envelope and sign a declaration, you can then vote a regular ballot.
- If you don't surrender your ballot and return envelope, you can only vote by provisional ballot at your polling place. Your county board of elections will then verify that you did not vote by mail before counting your provisional ballot.
Tracking Your Ballot
How do I know my ballot delivered?
How do I track my ballot?
PA voters can see the status of their mail-in or absentee ballot online. Track your ballot's progress from when your county receives your request, to when they receive your voted ballot.
Due to the volume of mail-in ballots expected during the 2020 General Election, it may take a few days for the system to be updated.
You will need the following to track your ballot:
- Full Name
- Date of Birth
- County of Your Voter Registration
Use this tracker from PA Voter Services to track your ballot.
Update Your Registration
Change of address? Change of party? We've got your back!
How to Update Your Registration
You must update your voter registration if you:
- move or change your address,
- change your name, or
- wish to change your party.
You can update your voter registration online, by mail or in person using the voter registration application form and checking the correct box at the top of the form.
How to change your political party
On the voter registration form, select the box that says 'Change of Party.'
You can change your political party at any time. When the change gets made in the system depends on when you make the change.
- Changes made more than 15 days before an election will take effect for that election.
- Changes made 15 days or less before an election will take effect for the next election.
How to change your name
If you change your name, for example after marriage or divorce, you must update your voter registration.
- On the voter registration form, select the box that says 'Change of Name.'
- When you go to the polling place to vote, bring your identification with your new name.
How to change your address
- If you move to a new address in Pennsylvania, you must update your voter registration.
- If you move to a different state, you must register to vote in that state.
- On the voter registration form, select the box that says 'Change of Address.'
The following guidelines cover situations in which you move or change your address close to an election.
If you move:
Within 30 days before an election, you will vote at the polling place for your old address.
To Pennsylvania from another state, you must be a resident of Pennsylvania and your election district for at least 30 days before the next election to be able to vote in Pennsylvania.
Within Pennsylvania less than 30 days before an election, you must vote at the polling place for your old address. Fill out a change of address form at the polling place to update your voter registration to your new address.
- If you moved within Pennsylvania more than 30 days before an election but did not update your registration, you can vote at the polling place for your old address for one election.
- If you moved within the same county, you must tell the election officials at the polling place of your new address. They will update your voter registration and send you a new voter registration card.
- If you moved to a different county, you need to fill out a form telling us your new address and the county where you moved. After the election, the county election office for both your old and new addresses will update your voter registration. You will receive a new voter registration card matching your new address.
If you move out of Pennsylvania to a different state, you may need to register before you can vote in your new state. You can cancel your registration in Pennsylvania by filling out a:
- Voter Request to Cancel Voter Registration form (English).
- Voter Request to Cancel Voter Registration form (Spanish).
Mail the form to the Pennsylvania county election office where you used to live.
Become a Poll Worker
Interested in going beyond your vote? Learn more here!
Become a Poll Worker
Be a champion of democracy! Become a poll worker in Pennsylvania.
Elections in Pennsylvania are made possible by thousands of regular citizens serving as poll workers across the Commonwealth. We all depend on responsible workers to run smooth elections. Get involved today!
Benefits of Becoming a Poll Worker
Learn about elections in PA
Gain valuable experience
Get paid for trainings and election day
Help your local community
How to Become a Poll Worker
Complete the Poll Worker Interest Form
If you are interested in becoming a poll worker, fill out the Poll Worker Interest Form.
After you submit the form, your county's election office will contact you.
You may reach out to the election office to follow up. You can find the contact information on the Contact Your Election Officials page.
In general, you must be registered to vote in the county where you wish to work. (Exceptions exist for 17-year-old high school students, who must meet additional requirements. High school students should contact their county election office for more information.)
Additionally, government officials and government employees are not allowed to serve as poll workers. Exceptions exist for district judges, notaries public, and members of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Likewise, you are generally not allowed to serve if your name appears on the ballot.
Poll workers generally work for the entire day on election day, from before the time the polls open at 7:00 am, until after the polls close at 8:00 pm.
Counties train poll workers on their election day duties.
All poll workers are paid for their time on election day.
Poll Worker Positions
Judge of Elections, Majority Inspector, and Minority Inspector
- These three positions make up the local election board in each precinct.
- The judge of elections is the person in charge at the polling place.
- The judge of elections and the majority and minority inspectors work together to manage the polling place, keep track of the number of voters, and make sure that the returns are delivered to the county election office at the end of the day.
- These positions are filled during municipal elections every four years. The last time these elections took place was 2017, and the next time will be in 2021.
- When the positions are vacant, someone is appointed to the job.
Clerk and Machine Inspector (also known as Machine Operator)
- These workers support the local election board. They are supervised by the judge of elections.
- Clerks and machine inspectors help check-in voters, manage the lines, and make sure voters know where to go at each step in the voting process.
- Unlike the elected positions, these positions are always filled by appointment.