Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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I want to vote. How does this work?

You may apply online or submit a voter registration application form to the Delaware County Voter Registration office, either in person or by mail. Besides the Voter Registration Office, forms can be obtained at most public offices - municipal buildings, post offices, liquor stores, etc.

Go to our Voter Registration page for more information.

How do I change my registered name/address/party?

Changes to a voter registration record are made by filling out a voter registration application, either online or in hard copy.

How do I check to make sure I am registered to vote?

You can find out if you are registered to vote by following the link below. You’ll need to enter your name in the exact way that it appears on your voter registration or the system may not be able to find your record.

Click here to check your voter registration status.

You can also contact Voter Registration at (610) 891-4659 or visit the office in the Government Center at the County Courthouse in Media to verify your voter registration records.

I have been convicted of a felony. Can I vote?

You can register and vote if you:

Are a pretrial detainee, confined in a penal institution awaiting trial on charges of a felony or a misdemeanor.

Were ever convicted of a misdemeanor.

Got released or will get released by the date of the next election from a correctional facility or halfway house. This must be upon completion of the term of incarceration for conviction of a misdemeanor or a felony.

Are on probation or released on parole. This includes parolees who are living in a halfway house.

Are under house arrest (home confinement). If this is you, you can vote no matter your conviction status or the status of the conditions of confinement.

You are NOT eligible to register and vote if you:

Are currently confined in a penal institution for conviction of a felony and will not get released from confinement until after the next election. This is even if you are also incarcerated for one or more misdemeanor offenses.

Are in a halfway house or other alternative correctional facility on pre-release status for conviction of a felony and you will not get released until after the date of the next election.

Got convicted of violating any provision of the Pennsylvania Election Code within the last four years.

When registering to vote, you cannot use a penal institution or a halfway house as your residence address where you live. However, you may use these locations as an address to receive mail.

Where is my polling place?

All in-person polling locations are listed on our Where to Voter In-Person web page. Note that emergencies and other issues may result in a change in the location of some polling places on any given election. An up-to-date list of polling places will be maintained on the web page, and voters affected by changes will be informed by written letter and through on-site signage in the days before the election.

What time do the polls open and close?

Polls in Pennsylvania open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. Registered voters who are in line at 8:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Can I vote early in Delaware County?

Early voting is typically defined as a process where citizens of some states can cast ballots in-person, at a polling place, days or even weeks prior to the official election day. This type of early voting is not authorized in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Polls will be open only on ELECTION DAY, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 8 p.m.

However, voters in Delaware County can submit mail-in or absentee ballots prior to election day. Voters also have the ability to both apply for and cast their ballot at any Voter Service Center.

Voters who have applied for a mail-in or absentee ballot can return their voted ballots prior to (or on) election day by:

Mailing the completed mail-in/absentee ballot

Hand delivering the completed mail-in/absentee ballot to the Voter Service Center located in Media

Hand delivering the completed mail-in/absentee ballot to a Ballot Drop Box (locations listed at link)

How do I sign up for a mail-in ballot?

First, you must be registered to vote. All registered voters may apply for a mail-in ballot.

There are four options to apply for a mail-in ballot:

  1. You can apply for a mail-in ballot using the state’s online Ballot Request Application form. You’ll be asked to use your driver’s license or PennDOT ID number if you have one, or else the last four digits of your Social Security number along with a picture of your signature.

  2. You can download and return a paper copy of the Pennsylvania Application for Mail-In Ballot to the Delaware County Bureau of Elections.

  3. You can call (610) 891-4673 and request that a copy of the paper application be mailed to you.

  4. You can visit the Delaware County Voter Service Center and request an application in person. In addition, if you successfully complete the application on-site in the period from 50–7 days before the election, you will have the option of immediately receiving your ballot and submitting your voted ballot at the Voter Service Center, or taking it with you to return at a later time (either by mail, at the Voter Service Center, or at a Delaware County Ballot Drop Box).

What’s the difference between absentee voting and mail-in voting?

Absentee voting is stipulated in the Pennsylvania Constitution for qualified voters who will be absent from their municipality on election day or who have an illness or disability that prevents them from going to the polls. Mail-in voting, sometimes called no-excuse absentee voting, was made possible by Act 77 in October 2019. Any registered voter may apply for a mail-in ballot and does not have to provide a reason. Each method for voting by mail has its own application form.

There are no differences in the general process for absentee and mail-in voting or in the ballots that are sent.

Will I be able to return my mail-in ballot to a ballot drop box at my polling place on Election Day?

No. There will not be mail-in ballot drop boxes in the polling places on Election Day, but there are many other ways to return a mail-in ballot on Election Day. You will be able to return your mail-in ballot until 8 p.m. on Election Day at any of the ballot drop boxes installed throughout the county, or at the Delaware County Voter Service Center.

Alternatively, you can bring your mail-in ballot and return ballot envelope (you will need both items!) to your polling place and exchange them for a regular in-person ballot that you can fill out and submit at your polling place.

When do I have to return a mail-in ballot?

Voted ballots must be delivered to the Board of Elections no later than 8:00 PM on the day of the Election.

Where are the ballot drop boxes?

All ballot drop boxes can be found on our Secured Ballot Drop Box page.

The maps and list of sites should remain largely unchanged from election to election, but any changes will be posted on the website prior to the next election.

What if I request a mail-in/absentee ballot and then decide I want to vote in-person at my polling location?

If you receive a mail-in/absentee ballot but decide you would prefer to vote in person at your polling place, you can do so. You must bring your ballot in its declaration envelope with you on Election Day, inform the poll workers that you would like to spoil your ballot and vote in-person instead, and surrender it to your precinct Judge of Elections. You can then cast a regular in-person ballot.

If you do not have your mail-in/absentee ballot to surrender at your polling place, you may cast a provisional ballot. This will be counted only if the Bureau of Elections does not receive the mail-in/absentee ballot that was sent to you.

I did not request a mail-in ballot application, but one was mailed to me. Why?

There are some third-party organizations, such as the Center for Voter Information, that are sending mail-in ballot applications to voters. Delaware County has not and will not send any applications unless requested by the voter or, unless the voter has applied for permanent status. If you have already applied to vote by mail for this election, you do not need to apply again.

I applied for a mail-in ballot. I haven’t received anything yet — where is it?

Please check your Election Ballot Status on the State’s website to track the official status of your ballot. It shows the date your application has been processed, the date your ballot has been mailed to you, and the date the Bureau of Elections has received your voted ballot.

I can’t remember if I applied for my mail-in or absentee ballot. How can I find out?

You can use the ballot tracker to determine if there is an approved request on file. If there is, under “Election” it will list the current election, “Application Received” and “Application Processed” will show the date your application was processed, and “Ballot Status” will read Pending.

Track the Status of Your Mail in or Absentee Ballot

What does it mean to be a Permanent/Annual by-mail voter?

On the application for a mail-in or absentee ballot, there is an option to sign up for annual mail-in/absentee voter status. Selecting this option does two things:

  1. It signs you up to receive a vote-by-mail ballot for all elections in the calendar year in which you applied. So, if you selected this option on your application to vote by mail in the primary, you will automatically receive a mail-in/absentee ballot for the general election; and

  2. Selecting this option means you will receive an application each year in February to renew your request to receive a mail-in/absentee ballot. Once your application is approved, you will automatically receive ballots for all elections in that calendar year, and you will not need to submit a new application for each election.

Keep in mind that you are not obliged to vote by mail even if you receive a mail-in or absentee ballot. You cannot vote twice, but you may take your ballot to your polling location and surrender it to your precinct Judge of Elections. You can then cast a regular in-person ballot.

I’m worried that my mail-in/absentee ballot won’t arrive in time. What should I do?

If you are concerned that there will not be enough time for your mail-in/absentee ballot to be received by the deadline, you have several options. You can return your voted mail-in/absentee ballot in person to the Delaware County Voter Service Centers or to any Delaware County Ballot Drop Box. Note that you can only hand-deliver your own ballot, not someone else’s (except in cases of disability).

If you have not yet applied for a mail-in/absentee ballot and are concerned that the process will take too long for you to vote, you can simply go directly to the Voter Service Center to vote (during the period from 50 days before the election until 7 days before the election). We will process your application and hand you your ballot; you may then vote your ballot in the office and submit it immediately or take it home with you.

We recommend you bring a form of ID and a completed application for a mail-in or absentee ballot (if you do not have an application, one will be provided).

I’ve already mailed my mail-in/absentee ballot, but I am concerned it will not be received in time. What should I do?

If you have mailed your completed ballot but are concerned that it will not reach the Bureau of Elections by the deadline, you may go to your polling place and cast a provisional ballot. This provisional ballot will be counted only if your mail-in/absentee ballot is not received by the deadline.

I, or someone I know, requires assistance to apply for a mail-in ballot and/or return a mail-in ballot and/or vote in person. How can I help?

Voters who need help may have a person of their choice assist them in filling out a mail-in or absentee ballot application and the ballot itself. Both the application and the ballot have a space for a witness signature if the voter is unable to provide their own signature.

If you need help voting in person due to a disability, you may bring a person of your choice to assist you in the voting process. The first time you have someone help you vote, the election officials at your polling place will ask you to complete and sign a form called a Declaration of Need of Assistance. After the first time, your registration record will note that you completed the form.

Polling locations in Delaware County will have the Hart Verity Touch Writer to assist voters in marking their paper ballot. Visit the VotesPA website for more information regarding the Delaware County voting system.

Will the United States Postal Service (USPS) forward my mail-in ballot?

No. But when you apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot, you can provide a secondary mail-to address and the Bureau of Elections will send your ballot there.

If you requested a mail-in or absentee ballot to be sent to an address at which you are not currently residing, this ballot can be canceled and another one re-issued. To do so, send us a letter or email stating the address to which the ballot you wish to cancel was sent and the address to which you would like the ballot re-issued. Note that should you somehow receive the canceled ballot, it cannot be returned (its unique barcode will not scan into our system), and you will have to wait for the second.

Can someone else hand-deliver my mail-in/absentee ballot to a Ballot Drop Box or Voter Service Center on my behalf?

According to Pennsylvania state law, the third-party return of ballots is prohibited unless the person returning the ballot is rendering assistance to a disabled voter or an emergency absentee voter. Such assistance requires a declaration signed by the voter and the person rendering assistance.

Third Party Ballot Delivery for Mail Voting Form

What protections are in place to prevent a person from voting by mail-in or absentee ballot and then voting at the polls?

When a person has applied for a mail-in or absentee ballot — regardless of whether the mail-in or absentee ballot is returned—their individual voter record notes that a mail-in or absentee ballot was requested. If that person goes to their polling place, that request will be clearly noted next to their name in the poll book.

Before the voter would be able to cast an in-person vote, they would need to return the ballot, including the envelope, and have it spoiled by the poll workers. Without both the ballot and the envelope, the voter will be required to vote a provisional ballot.

Note: Provisional ballots are not counted on election day. Instead, they are returned to the Bureau of Elections and, as part of the Return Board process, each provisional ballot is reviewed to ensure that the individual had not voted by mail-in ballot, absentee ballot, or in-person at the polling place. If it is determined that no other ballot had been cast by the voter, the provisional ballot will be opened and counted.

Can you clarify the qualifications and conditions that must be met for individuals to serve as a Poll Watcher, and clarify what they are—and are not—permitted to do?

The PA Department of State released new guidance concerning poll watchers and authorized representatives at the pre-canvass and canvass of ballots. It clarifies the qualifications and conditions that must be met for individuals to serve these roles and specifies what they are and are not permitted to do.

Importantly, the guidance reiterates that “poll watchers and authorized representatives have no legal right to observe or be present at county election offices, satellite offices or designated ballot return sites, except to vote their own ballot or to perform personal tasks expressly permitted by the Election Code.”

Read the Guidance Concerning Poll Watchers and Authorized Representatives, updated on October 6, 2020.

If a voter comes to the polling place and must vote by provisional ballot, what information/ID must the voter have to complete the ballot?

The same ID requirements in place for in-person voting apply to those casting a provisional ballot.

I would like more information about the Board of Elections. Can I attend a meeting?

Notifications of upcoming meetings of the Delaware County Board of Elections are posted on the Board of Elections page. Meetings are conducted to consider matters relating to elections and to address matters lawfully coming before the Board. The public is permitted to attend in person.

I was told that the State recently enacted something called Act 77. Can you explain what Act 77 is?

On October 31, 2019, Governor Wolf signed Act 77 of 2019 into law. Act 77 is a State election reform bill that made several notable changes to the Pennsylvania Election Code and allowed significant improvements to Pennsylvania’s elections. Act 77 allows more convenient and secure voting. Most voters can now vote by mail-in ballot, and voters are provided additional time to register to vote and to return their absentee or mail-in ballot. In addition, the Act provided $90 million in funding for new voting systems.

A quick summary of what has changed due to Act 77:

Elimination of “One Touch” straight party ticket voting

New deadline to register to vote is now 15 days before an election

New mail-in option allows voters to request a mail-in ballot online or by mail as late as 7 days before the election.

Absentee ballots will no longer be counted at local polling places on election day. They will be opened and canvassed centrally by the Election Board after the polls close.

Early in-person voting. Residents can vote at the County Bureau of Elections once the ballot is certified and up until 7 days prior to the election.

Satellite early in-person voting. Act 77 also permits counties to establish one or more satellite locations (referred to in Delaware County as Voter Service Centers) for residents to vote early.

Did the passage of Act 77 result in new voting equipment?

Yes. One of the most visible changes coming out of Act 77 will be a change in the types of voting systems used by counties in elections. Voting systems must now offer a paper backup system. The voting machines used in Delaware County for many years did not meet that requirement and had to be replaced to meet the State’s mandate.

The new Hart Verity 2.3.4 system, certified by the PA Department of State, is a paper ballot system that offers plain text which voters can read to verify their vote before casting their ballot.

Download an information brochure about Act 77 here: Act 77 Brochure.

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About Delaware County

Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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