A complete guide to the May 17 primary, including how to vote, find your polling place, understand mail-in ballots, and more · Spotlight PA

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HARRISBURG — More than a few things have changed since Pennsylvanians last went to the polls. Your congressional and legislative districts may differ, some districts oversee or reduce dropboxes, and the absentee ballot law has been declared unconstitutional — but for now it remains in effect and a valid form of voting.

Here’s what you need to know to prepare for the 2022 Pennsylvania primary:

When is the day of the 2022 Pennsylvania primary?

Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Save your calendar!

When will the polling stations open for the 2022 Pa primary?

Polling stations are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m

Can I still register to vote?

The last day you can register to vote is May 2nd. You can sign up here.

You can verify that you have already registered here using either your name and address or a government-issued ID.

What if I want to change parties?

To change your party affiliation, fill out the same voter registration form you used when you first registered.

When filling out the form, simply tick the “Change Party” box. If you register less than 15 days before the election, the change will not take effect until the next election cycle.

If you are a nonpartisan/independent voter, you are not allowed to vote for a major party candidate in important elections such as governor or the US Senate. To do this, you must change your registration to one of the parties by May 2nd.

Where do I vote?

If you’re voting in person, you can look up your polling location here.

Can I vote by post?

Yes! Although the Commonwealth Court found the manner in which the state’s absentee ballot law was passed unconstitutional, the case was appealed to the Supreme Court (the highest court in Pennsylvania). The Supreme Court has allowed the law to remain in effect while the case is heard. So if you want to vote by mail, you can.

How do I vote by mail?

You can request an absentee ballot here using a state-issued ID or your social security number.

What is the deadline for applying for a postal vote?

The closing date for primary school is May 10, 2022.

How do I properly prepare my postal ballot so it doesn’t get thrown away?

After you receive your absentee ballot, be sure to read the instructions and fill out the front and back of each page. Place the completed ballot in the non-disclosure envelope provided. The secret envelope is labeled “official ballot paper”. Be careful not to make any marks on it. Finally, place the non-disclosure envelope in the pre-addressed return envelope. Remember to sign and date the return envelope or your vote will not be counted! More information can be found here.

How do I submit a postal ballot?

Mail-in ballots must be received by your district Elections Board by 8:00 p.m. on the day of the primary, Tuesday, May 17. You can drop off your absentee ballot at a mailbox, your district Elections Office, or other designated location, or by post. You can find a drop-off point here.

Voters must return their own ballots unless otherwise permitted. Only voters with a disability can nominate someone to vote for them. To officially designate someone, fill out this form and submit it with your absentee ballot. If you have already mailed in your postal ballot, you can contact your local district elections office for information on where to turn in the form.

How do I choose absent?

The process for requesting a postal vote is similar to requesting a postal vote. You can apply online or download the form and send it to your district election office. However, unlike absentee voting, the application requires you to provide a reason for your absence. You can find the application here.

What is the deadline for applying for a postal vote?

The primary school deadline is May 10, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.

Has my legislative or congressional district changed?

Possibly. You can use our map comparison tool to see how new legislative and congressional district maps might affect you.

What’s on the ballot?

All Pennsylvanians will vote for a new governor, lieutenant governor, US senator and US representative. Many will also elect new state representatives based on their new legislative district lines. While the new Senate lines leave the balance of power in that chamber relatively unchanged, the new House districts have the potential to level the playing field for Democrats in the general election.

Ballots also differ depending on which municipality you live in. Some voters may elect new city council members or community representatives. Most counties provide a preview of what their ballots will look like. You can find your constituency election location here.

The League of Women Voters, a bipartisan national electoral organization, also offers an election preview tool.

Are constitutional amendments or nationwide referendums on the ballot?

no You can track the status of all current proposals with our change tracker.

Why is the primary important?

Primary elections often determine which candidate wins the general election. Legislative districts tend to be small and politically closed. In the new legislative maps, only 15% of seats are considered competitive, according to impartial analysis. This means that most districts have a party with a strong majority. Whichever candidate wins the dominant party’s primaries is almost guaranteed to win November’s general election.

Full coverage of the 2022 Pennsylvania primary:

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