Facts about Mail in Voting

President Trump is the Source of Much Misinformation about Mail In Voting. Here are the Facts.

The Pennsylvania Legislature passed Act 77 of 2019, and it was signed into law on October 31, 2019. The law created no excuse mail in voting for Pennsylvania voters. Previously, the only mail in voting available in Pennsylvania was absentee ballot voting where the voter needed to provide a reason they could not vote in person.

How does mail in voting work?

  • You request a mail in ballot from the Pennsylvania Department of State or your County Elections Office. (More information is provided below.)
  • If you request a mail in ballot, it will be sent to you in the mail.
  • If you prefer, you can go to the Bedford County Elections Office on the third floor of the Bedford County Courthouse Building at 200 South Juliana Street, Bedford. You can complete and submit your application in person, wait for it to be processed, and receive your mail in ballot in person.
  • You get to safely and comfortably complete your ballot in the privacy of your own home.
  • You place your ballot in a privacy envelope that is provided to protect your identity.
  • You place the privacy envelope in a postage paid return envelope which includes your signature.
  • You can return your ballot by mail or at a dropbox designated by your County Board of Elections. (Note: at this time the PA Legislature is attempting to remove the dropbox option.) In Bedford County the dropbox will be at the Bedford County Courthouse area, 200 South Juliana Street, Bedford. You cannot deposit ballots for others. The dropbox will be under video surveillance. YOU CANNOT RETURN YOUR MAIL IN BALLOT AT YOUR POLLING PLACE.
  • The signature on your return envelope is checked against county records at the courthouse the same way it is checked when you vote in person.
  • You can track your ballot at https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/Pages/BallotTracking.aspx The site will tell you when your application was received, when your ballot is sent, and when your ballot has been received at the courthouse.
  • Your vote will be counted at the courthouse in the presence of representatives of both parties.
  • You can’t vote twice. If you receive a mail in ballot, you CANNOT vote at the polls. Those who requested a mail-in or absentee ballot WILL be listed in the poll book. However, it will note their mail-in or absentee status. If the status is “mail-in/absentee ballot sent,” voters may vote a provisional ballot at the polls. If the status is “mail-in/absentee ballot received,” the voter may not vote at the polls as their vote has already been cast.

How to Apply for a Mail In Ballot

  • All eligible Pennsylvania voters can use mail in ballots. Since mail in voting is available to all registered Pennsylvania voters, absentee ballots are no longer necessary, but they are retained because absentee ballots are part of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
  • In Pennsylvania, you must apply for a mail in ballot from the Department of State or your County Elections Office. Ballots are NOT automatically sent to everyone. Rumors that multiple ballots are being sent to the same person or dead people are false. Other organizations are permitted to send ballot applications, but the voter must submit the application and will receive only one ballot.
  • If you’re a voter with a valid PA Driver’s License or PennDOT ID number, you may apply with the online form at the Department of State, https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/.

    If you do not have a PA Driver’s License or PennDOT ID number, you will need a paper ballot application. You can download the application at the Department of State site or at https://www.bedfordcountypa.org/departments/elections/election_applications.php, or pick up an application in person at the Bedford County Elections Office, at 200 South Juliana Street, Bedford, PA.

    Once your application is completed, you can return it by mail or in person to your County Board of Elections.

    Office of Elections and Voter Registration:
    200 South Juliana Street
    Bedford, PA 15522
  • Whether you apply to the PA Department of State or your county elections office, your ballot will be sent to you by your county elections office.

Other Facts About Mail In Voting

  • You can vote as soon as your receive your ballot in the mail.
  • Your signature will be checked against courthouse records when your ballot is received. In Bedford County, voters are contacted directly if there appears to be a discrepancy between the signatures on the application and the voter registration file.
  • Mail in ballots will be counted starting at 7:00 a.m. on election day at the courthouse.  Representatives of the two major parties will be represented.

The information on this page is accurate on September 6, 2020. If you have any corrections, send us a message.