Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar announced recently that the Pennsylvania Department of State will provide funding for postage so all eligible voters can return their mail-in and absentee ballots at no cost to the voter for the 2020 general election.
“Our goal is to make voting as accessible, safe, and easy for eligible voters as possible,” Secretary Boockvar said. “Mail-in or absentee voting with prepaid postage means Pennsylvanians can vote from the comfort of their own home, without having to make a trip to the post office to buy a stamp, during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Eligible voters may apply for their mail-in or absentee ballot online, in person at their county election offices, or by paper forms submitted by mail. Once the county determines the voter is eligible, the Department’s funding will allow the counties to send a postage-paid ballot-return envelope with the ballot to the voter for their easy return.
“It’s our job as public servants to make the voting process as seamless as possible for our citizens. This decision by Governor Wolf and the Department of State is the right move because it makes it even easier for all Pennsylvanians to make sure their voices are heard,” said David Pedri, Luzerne County Manager.
The Department of State is working with individual counties to identify the easiest manner of implementing pre-paid postage for November’s returned ballots – whether it be reimbursed metered postage, funding Business Reply Mail (BRM) postage costs, or reimbursement for stamps.
“We thank Governor Wolf for taking this step to remove any barrier that residents may have to using the mail-in and absentee ballot. When we provided return postage for ballots during the primary, the process was even easier for people who wanted to vote in this manner. This step statewide ensures even greater access to all voting options for residents,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
Thanks to the historic, bipartisan Act 77 of 2019 signed into law by Governor Wolf last fall, all eligible Pennsylvanians now have the option of voting by mail-in ballot without having to provide an excuse. In the 2020 primary election, nearly 1.5 million Pennsylvanians securely cast their vote by mail-in or absentee ballot.
For voters who prefer to vote in person, polling places will be available in all counties on election day, November 3, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“We are very pleased to be able to expand the accessibility and safety for eligible Pennsylvanians to participate in our democracy in this very important election,” added Secretary Boockvar.