Mail-In vs. Absentee Ballot
What is the difference between a mail-in ballot and an absentee ballot?
- To qualify for a mail-in ballot you must be registered to vote in Erie County. To request annual mail-in status, refer to the annual request section of your application.
- To be a qualified absentee voter you must be a registered voter, and either; absent from the municipality on Election Day, or have a physical disability. To apply to be an annual absentee voter, you must obtain a signature from you Doctor on your application.
- WATCH: How to Complete and Return Your Mail-in or Absentee Ballot
Annual and Permanent Status
What does annual/permanent status mean, and how does it work?
- If you completed the annual request on your mail-in or absentee ballot application, you will automatically receive an annual application in February each year.
- Return the application to our office, and you will automatically receive a ballot for the Primary, and General, or any special election that year.
- You can cancel your annual/permanent status at any time, by completing and returning the annual/permanent status cancellation form.
- You must be a registered voter in Erie County to request a ballot from our office.
How to Apply
To apply for a ballot online, you must have a valid PA Driver’s License, or photo I.D. from the PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT). Visit the Ballot Request Application site provided by pavoterservices.pa.gov to request your ballot online.
To obtain a paper mail-in or absentee ballot application, please visit one of the following, or download and print the form:
- A state Wine and Spirits store
- A state representative’s office
- A county library
- Contact the Voter Registration Office
- Printable mail-in ballot application
- Printable absentee ballot application
Return your applications to:
Erie County Voter Registration office
140 W. Sixth Street room 112
Erie Pa, 16501
Track Your Ballot
You can now track your ballot using the Pennsylvania Department of States Ballot tracker, simply enter your information and submit.
Please note: Erie County is partnered with a local printing company to help fulfill the high demand for mailed ballots. Please be advised that the mailed date will be a few days after the one reflected on the Department of States website.
Returning your Ballot
Use the provided instructions for voting your ballot, once complete, you have several options for returning your ballot to the Board of Elections.
- Return by Mail – be sure to include postage on the return envelope. Please account for postal processing and delivery.
- Use the secure drop box, located in front of the Erie County Courthouse. The drop box is available 24/7. Be sure to complete the Voters declaration.
- Hand deliver your ballot to the Voters Registration office. Be sure to complete the Voters declaration.
The deadline for the Erie County Board of Elections to receive your voted ballot is 8:00 pm on Election Day. Once your ballot has been received, you may not vote at your Poll site.
If you applied for a ballot, but you have not received it, you may vote a provisional ballot at your poll.
If you received your ballot, but do not have enough time to mail it back to the Board of Elections by the deadline, you may:
- Hand deliver it to the Voter Registration office
- Use the drop box
- Surrender all of your balloting materials at your poll site to be voided by the Judge of Elections, and cast your vote at the poll.
- If you have a disability that prevents you from applying in person for your mail ballot or delivering your mail ballot, you may designate an agent to deliver your ballot materials for you. Please complete and return the Designated Agent Form to our office, do not place this form in the envelope with your ballot. Agents may only assist one voter per election cycle. However if multiple voters with disabilities live in the same household, the same agent may help those voters as well.
- Pennsylvania voters with disabilities now have the opportunity to mark their absentee or mail-in ballot electronically. For more information visit the Remote Ballot Information site provided by www.votespa.com.
Military and Overseas voters
If you are a member of the military or an overseas civilian voter, you have options for how to register and vote.
- Complete a Federal Postcard Application, this will allow you to register to vote and request a ballot. The United States Department of Defense distributes this form as Federal Form Number 76. Members of the military may submit an application through Election Day, and have a 7-day extension to return a voted ballot. Overseas civilian voters must adhere to the regular deadlines.
- Complete a Federal Write-in Application, this will allow you to register and vote if there is not enough time to receive and send back your ballot before the election. Use the UMOVA notice to help with determining your vote.