Important Deadlines for the May 17th Primary Election
If using a mail-in ballot, mail early. Postmarks Do Not Count!
- May 2: Last day to register to vote in the primary election, by 5pm
- May 10: Last day to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot, by 5pm
- May 17: Election Day. Mail-in or absentee ballots must be received by 8pm
It’s election season once again! Primary elections allow community members to choose local and statewide candidates for office and to vote for local legislation. The decisions made in primary elections impact our communities and our everyday experiences for years to come (in schools, court rooms, our homes and in local office).
The following guide provides details on the voting process (both in-person and by mail), along with links to candidate forums and ballot questions for more context.
Voting in Pennsylvania
Who Is Eligible to Vote?
- All US citizens ages 18 or older as of Election Day
- PA residents for 30 prior to Election Day
Who/What Do We Vote for in a Primary Election?
PA has CLOSED Primaries to Select Candidates
During the Pennsylvania primary election, the two major parties select their candidates for the November General Election. Only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in the Closed Primary, because they are voting for candidates that will represent their party in the larger general election.
All voters can vote on constitutional amendments, ballot questions, and any special election contests held at the same time as a primary election.
During a primary election, the major parties select their candidates for:
- Lieutenant Governor
- US Senator
- US House of Representatives
- State Senators
- State Representatives
To Vote In-Person:
Polls are open for in-person voting from 7am – 8pm on Election Day. First-time voters, including individuals who are voting for the first-time at the polling place, will be asked to show an approved form of identification (from the Allegheny County Elections Division).
Find your polling place at pavoterservices.pa.gov.
Don’t leave without voting. Anyone in line at 8:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Anyone may request a provisional ballot.
Learn More about Voting In-Person
To Vote Using a Mail-in or Absentee Ballot:
Request a mail-in or absentee ballot at pavoterservices.pa.gov by the specified deadline. You can submit an online application, download a paper form, or request to have a form mailed to you. Your mail-in or absentee ballot will arrive to you by mail before Election Day.
Mail-in and absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted. Post marks do not count. You may NOT drop off a voted ballot at the polling place.
Learn More about Voting by Mail-in Ballot
Where can I find information on who/what will be on the ballot?
- Allegheny County Election Resources: Find sample ballots for the upcoming election.
- Vote.PA.gov: The State of Pennsylvania voter site has everything you need to register, change your address or party, apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot, check your registration status or your polling place.
- Vote411: Enter your address to view your personalized ballot, view candidate information, and more.
- Local and statewide nonprofits have put together a video series of candidate forums that you can watch to become more informed on their issues and positions:
Allegheny County Elections Office
542 Forbes Ave., Suite 609, Pittsburgh, PA 15219; 412-350-4500
Polling Places, Voter Rights and Poll Working
Note: As a publicly-funded institution, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and its employees cannot express opinions, advocate—either actively or passively—for a candidate or cause or try to sway potential voters one way or the other. As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, as defined by the IRS, CLP and its employees are prohibited from engaging “in partisan activities, including but not limited to interventions in support or against any candidate for public office.” Our goal is to provide balanced, unbiased information to our community in the form of displays, programs and resources.