Navigating the three ways to vote in Pennsylvania; how to avoid a naked ballot

Your Local Election Headquarters

Pennsylvania has three voting options: in-person on Election Day, absentee in-person voting -- just like early voting -- or by mail

MERCER CO., Pa. (WKBN) – Your Local Election Headquarters is giving you important information with voting already underway in Ohio and Pennsylvania. If you’re voting by mail, it might be confusing because you have two envelopes for returning the ballot. Each of those envelopes is important.

On Thursday, we were in western Pennsylvania finding out what a naked ballot is and how to avoid it.

Thursday was another busy day of voting in Pennsylvania. Already, 12% of Mercer County’s population has filled out their ballot.

“So, we have 74,000 registered voters in the county and we’ve already received back over 9,000 ballots. That constitutes half of the people who we sent mail-in ballots to or absentee ballots to,” said Thad Hall, director of the Mercer County Board of Elections.

Pennsylvania has three voting options: in-person on Election Day, absentee in-person voting — just like early voting — or by mail.

You just fill out your ballot, then follow the yellow instruction sheet carefully. You want to avoid having a naked ballot, which is a ballot without an official ballot envelope.

“If there’s only a ballot inside [the return envelope], it’s not in this envelope [the official ballot envelope], all of those ballots get put to the side because under state law you have to put it in both envelopes,” Hall said.

The official ballot envelope is quite plain, just three words. Keep it that way. Don’t write anything on it, not even your name.

“What we need is for when we pull the ballot out from the return envelope, that this is now an unidentifiable ballot,” Hall said.

When you put the official ballot envelope into the return envelope, then you follow the lines on the outside of that envelope and provide the necessary information before mailing it in postage-free or you can drop it off at the Board of Elections.

Pennsylvania also has absentee in-person voting if you want to get everything done now.

“They’ll just complete the mail-in request and we issue you a ballot right then, and then you do put it in the absentee envelope and we ensure that you do it correctly so we can be 100% sure your ballot will get counted,” Hall said.

Mailed ballots in Pennsylvania will be accepted through 5 p.m. Friday following the election, as long as they’re postmarked by Election Day.

The easiest thing is just to take your ballot to the Board of Elections before Election Day.

And remember, you can’t return a ballot for another person unless you have the required form to designate someone to return it for you.

More stories from

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on