Exercise Your Civic Duty and Prepare to Vote

“Christians are called to be stewards of our common life through serving as faithful and active citizens. We live out our mutual responsibility for one another by guaranteeing our neighbor’s right to vote and participate freely and fully in society.”The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA

For many of us, voting, whether on Election Day or in a primary, is both a tradition and an important civic duty. Others this year may be voting for the first time or returning to the polls after a few years. As a public church committed to empowering every voice in our communities, civic participation through the ballot box is one way in which we can live out our faith.

As you prepare to vote in the November 3rd national election, here are some important updates. The deadline to register for the November general election is October 19, 2020. Keep in mind that you must submit a voter registration application to update your address, change your party affiliation, or change your name.

Check your voter registration status at Register or update your information at

If you are a registered voter in Pennsylvania, you have a new option to vote by mail-in ballot. This is a great option for voters who prefer the convenience of voting at home. You do not have to provide a reason for requesting a mail-in ballot. If you decide to vote by mail-in ballot, keep in mind:

You must apply for a ballot by 5:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before the election.

You can apply using an online application at, by mailing in a paper application, or by submitting a paper application in person at the county election office.

When you apply in person, you can ask for your ballot immediately. If the ballot is available, you can complete it in the office and return it to the county election staff. You can return your completed ballot by mail or in person at your county election office.

The county must receive your completed ballot by 8:00 pm on election day in order to count it.

It’s important to know your vote is final once your county receives your voted mail-in ballot, and you are not allowed to go to the polling place to change your vote on election day. If you do not return your voted ballot to your county election office by 8:00 p.m. on election day, you can vote by provisional ballot at your polling place.

An absentee ballot may be requested if you plan to be out of the municipality on election day or if you have a disability or illness. An absentee ballot still requires you to list a reason for your ballot. Absentee ballot applications may be accessed here.

Mail-in and absentee ballot applications for the November 3, 2020, general election must be received by your county election office by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27, 2020All mail-in and absentee ballots for the November general election will be sent to voters with postage-paid envelopes, a change from the 2020 primary election that will eliminate the cost of postage for voters using mail options in November.

You now also have the option to request to be added to an annual mail-in ballot request list where you’ll receive an application to renew your mail-in ballot request each year. Once your application is approved, you will automatically receive ballots for the remainder of the year, and you do not need to submit an application for each election. Apply online for a mail-in ballot.

The last day for county election boards to receive voted military and overseas absentee ballots (submitted for delivery no later than 11:59 p.m.) is a week after the election.


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