HARRISBURG, Pa. (WKBN) – The Pennsylvania Department of State announced Monday that more than 587,000 voters have already applied for mail-in ballots for the May 18 municipal primary election and more than 18,000 voters have applied for absentee ballots.

“These impressive application numbers show that mail-in voting has become a popular option for Pennsylvanians, valued for its convenience, accessibility and security. People like being able to vote from their own homes and on their own schedule,” said Acting Secretary of State Veronica W. Degraffenreid. “If mail ballot applications continue at this pace, we could be on track to set a record for participation in a municipal primary.”

Voting by mail ballot without having to provide an excuse is relatively new to Pennsylvania. The bipartisan Act 77 of 2019, signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf, represented the first major reforms to the Pennsylvania election law in over 80 years.

Any eligible voter may apply for a mail-in ballot. Applications may be submitted online via the Department of State’s website.

Paper applications in multiple languages are available for download.

Once voters return their mail-in ballot application to their county board of elections, the county will send them a mail-in ballot as soon as the county’s ballots have been finalized and printed.

When they receive their ballot in the mail, voters simply need to read the instructions and mark their ballot, then seal it in the secrecy envelope that indicates “official election ballot,” seal the secrecy envelope inside the pre-addressed outer return envelope, sign and date the voter’s declaration on the outside of the outer return envelope and put a stamp on the envelope, if needed.

Mail-in and absentee ballot applications must be received by a voter’s county board of elections by 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 11.

Voted mail ballots must be received by the county board of elections by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, May 18.

For more information about voting in Pennsylvania, visit votesPA.com.