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Yes, You Can Vote From Home In Pennsylvania Now

You no longer have to schlep out to the polls with the kids and wait in line. You can mail in your vote, starting with the presidential primary

By April Sikorski from Brooklyn

Good news moms and dads: You can now vote from home in Pennsylvania, starting with the presidential primary on April 28, 2020.

A new law means no more dragging the kids to your polling place. Or trying to find times you and your partner can go separately while the other one watches the kids.

Online form

Now, it's as simple as filling out an online application and waiting for your ballot to come in the mail. When it does, get it back before the end of election day and you'll have voted just the same as if you'd stood in line for 45 minutes only to feel rushed to get finished once you reached the voting booth.

Take your time. Make cup of tea. Puruse your choices, research them as you sit there leisursely filling out the form. The biggest hassle might be finding a mailbox to put it in.

When you apply for a mail-in ballot (make sure to have your driver's license handy; you'll need it to complete the form) you can also tell the state to put you on the permanent mail-in list so that you automatically will get sent a mail-in ballot application every year. Once approved, you'll get ballots for both the spring primary and the November general election. This year, that means you can avoid the long lines typical during presidential election years.

Be registered to vote

One caveat: You have to be registered to vote before you can apply. You can check here to see if you are. And here if you need to register. 

Of course, there is something to be said about the civic pride you can show by going to your local polling place and even taking the kids with you. You can still do that, even if you received a mail-in ballot; you don't have to mail it back. But you won't be able to vote twice (sorry, nice try) and if you do send in your mail-in ballot on time, it will be the one that counts, even if you are allowed to vote at your polling place. 

And while you might enjoy the shared communal experience of the polling place and bumping into neighbors you haven't seen lately, we suspect harried parents will be among the first to jump onto the mail-in ballot habit.

You can already vote by mail in New Jersey. In Delaware, only absentee ballots can be cast by mail.

"This is the first election in which Pennsylvania voters have the convenient option of voting by mail-in ballot, without having to provide a reason for choosing it," Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said in announcing this week that the ballot applications are now available.

So take the easy way out; vote from your kitchen table.

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