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March 1, 2021

Primary Election 2021 – What You Need to Know

Though the nation has just come out of one of the most contentious election cycles in our history, another election season is just beginning. The 2021 primary season is upon us, and there are important pieces of information for voters to know. Below you’ll find information on deadlines for registration, how to request a mail-in ballot, how to receive alerts and updates, and who and what will be on the ballot this year.  Meanwhile, advocates will be watching hearings regarding the 2020 elections and guarding against any attempts to suppress voter participation

For the 2021 Pennsylvania primary (scheduled for May 18th), the last day to register to vote is May 3rd. The last day to request a mail-in or absentee ballot is May 11th. On election day polls will be open from 7:00am to 8:00pm.

The next municipal election is on November 2nd, 2021. The last day to register to vote is October 18th. The last day to request a mail-in or absentee ballot is October 26th. On election day polls will once again be open from 7:00am to 8:00pm.

Click here to register to vote, and here to request a mail-in or absentee ballot.

Make sure you do not miss any important updates regarding the election, such as notification of deadlines. Even if you previously signed-up, the commonwealth is requiring voters to do so again for this year’s elections. You can sign-up for updates here.

This year there are not only a variety of races on the ballot, but also a number of proposed amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution. The ballot questions are as follows:

  1. Relating to termination or extension of disaster emergency declarations – Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law and increase the power of the General Assembly to unilaterally terminate or extend a disaster emergency declaration—and the powers of Commonwealth agencies to address the disaster regardless of its severity pursuant to that declaration—through passing a concurrent resolution by simple majority, thereby removing the existing check and balance of presenting a resolution to the Governor for approval or disapproval?
  2. Disaster emergency declaration and management – Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law so that: a disaster emergency declaration will expire automatically after 21 days, regardless of the severity of the emergency, unless the General Assembly takes action to extend the disaster emergency; the Governor may not declare a new disaster emergency to respond to the dangers facing the Commonwealth unless the General Assembly passes a concurrent resolution; the General Assembly enacts new laws for disaster management?
  3. Prohibition against denial or abridgement of equality of rights because of race or ethnicity – Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended by adding a new section providing that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of an individual’s race or ethnicity?

Below is a full list of dates and events to keep in mind as the year unfolds and elections approach.

Date

Event

February 16, 2021 First day to circulate and file nomination petitions
March 9, 2021 Last day to circulate and file nomination petitions
March 10, 2021 First day to circulate and file nomination papers
March 16, 2021 Last day to file objections to nomination petitions
March 24, 2021 Last day for withdrawal by candidates who filed nomination petitions
May 3, 2021 Last day to REGISTER before the primary
May 11, 2021 Last day to apply for a mail-in or civilian absentee ballot
May 18, 2021 Last day for County Board of Elections to receive voted mail-in and civilian absentee ballots (must be received by 8:00 P.M.)
May 18, 2021 MUNICIPAL PRIMARY 
May 19, 2021 First day to REGISTER after primary
May 25, 2021 Last day for County Board of Elections to receive voted military and overseas absentee ballots (submitted for delivery no later than 11:59 P.M. on May 17)
August 2, 2021 Last day to circulate and file nomination papers
August 9, 2021 Last day to file objections to nomination papers
August 9, 2021 Last day for withdrawal by candidates nominated by nomination papers
August 9, 2021 Last day for withdrawal by candidates nominated at the primary
October 18, 2021 Last day to REGISTER before the November election
October 26, 2021 Last day to apply for a mail-in or civilian absentee ballot
November 2, 2021 Last day for County Boards of Elections to receive voted mail-in and civilian absentee ballots (must be received by 8:00 P.M.)
November 2, 2021 MUNICIPAL ELECTION
November 3, 2021 First day to REGISTER after November election
November 9, 2021 Last day for County Board of Elections to receive voted military and overseas absentee ballots (submitted for delivery no later than 11:59 P.M. on November 1)

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