New Pennsylvania voting law allowing mail-in ballot to impact statewide voters

March 04, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — New changes to Pennsylvania’s voting laws will make it more convenient for Pennsylvanians — including Penn State students, faculty and staff across the Commonwealth — to register and vote in the upcoming state primary election on April 28 and general election on Nov. 3, 2020. Penn State encourages eligible students and employees to be engaged citizens by participating in elections and understanding the issues that affect them today and in the future.

Signed into law in October 2019, Act 77 is a voting reform bill that now enables most Pennsylvania voters to vote by mail-in ballot and gives voters more time to register to vote and to return their absentee or mail-in ballot.

The following information provides key dates and information related to the upcoming primary election:

Register to vote in the primary by April 13:

The deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania is now 15 days before an election, rather than 30 days.

  • April 13, 2020 is the last day to register before the April 28 Pennsylvania primary election. Eligible voters can register online, by mail or in person.
  • Check your registration status in Pennsylvania.

Request an absentee and mail-in ballot by April 21 and return it by April 28:

For shorter lines on election day, it’s easier to vote by mail by either mail-in ballot or absentee ballot. If you are eligible and plan to vote using an absentee or mail-in ballot in the primary election on April 28, you must first request a ballot, which can be done online, by mail or in person at your county election office.

  • Deadline to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot: Your completed application must be received in your county election office by 5 p.m. on April 21.
  • Deadline to vote by mail-in or absentee ballot: Return your voted absentee or mail-in ballot so it arrives at your county election office by 8 p.m. on April 28.

Information for college students:

Penn State students have a choice to register and vote at their current school address in Pennsylvania or their prior home address. To decide where to vote, students can consider where they feel most informed about local issues, where they spend the majority of their time and where it would be easier to vote based on the timing of the election.

  • To vote at your school address: Students can use a mail-in ballot or vote in person on election day. Find your polling place in Pennsylvania.
  • To vote at your prior home address: Students can use an absentee ballot or vote in person on election day.

Penn State students can learn more about voter registration, election information and polling places at

Visit Pennsylvania’s official voter information website at for more information.

Last Updated March 05, 2020