Absentee and Alternative Ballots

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Absentee Ballot Application and Requirements

You may be eligible for an absentee ballot if:

You are away from your municipality of residence because of occupation, business, or duties;

You are a person who is or may be in the military service of the United States

You are away from home at school, college, or university;

You will be unable to go to the polls because of illness or disability;

You must observe a religious holiday;

You are a county employee with duties on Election Day related to conducting the election. 

Absentee Ballot

Please click the button below to download an absentee ballot application and instructions. Once downloaded, you must print the application, fill out the required information, and return the completed application and any additional required documents to:

Philadelphia County Board of Elections
City Hall Room 142

1400 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Download Absentee Ballot Application

You may also call the County Board of Elections at 215-686-3943 to have an absentee ballot application mailed to you, or you may pick one up in person from any of the City Commissioners offices, at the Philadelphia Voter Registration Office, or from the Philadelphia County Board of Elections

Absentee Ballot Application Deadline: Applications for absentee ballots MUST be received by the County Board of Elections no later than 5:00 PM the Tuesday before an election. Postmarks are NOT honored; applications must be in the office before the deadline.

Return of Absentee Ballots: All absentee ballots must be RECEIVED by the County Board of Elections no later than 5:00 PM the Friday before an election. Postmarks are NOT honored.

Those who are unable to personally pick up or submit an Absentee Ballot may designate a representative todeliver the absentee ballot to the voter and then have that same individual return the completed absentee ballot to the County Board of Elections, by completing the form below.

Designation of Agent to Assist Disabled Voter in Delivering Completed Absentee or Alternative Ballot and Certification of Designated Agent Forms (PDF)

Emergency Absentee Ballot

Emergency Absentee Ballot Applications: If an emergency (an unexpected trip or illness, for example) arises after the deadline for absentee ballot applications, an “emergency application” may be obtained from the Board of Elections, either in person, by mail, or by clicking the link below. The applicant must attest to the fact of the emergency before a notary public. Emergency applications MUST be received by the County Board of Elections no later than 5:00 PM the Friday before the election. Postmarks are not honored.     

Download Emergency Absentee Ballot Application

Deadline for Returning Emergency Ballots: All emergency absentee ballots must be RECEIVED by the County Board of Elections no later than 5:00 PM the Friday before an election. Postmarks are NOT honored.

Those who are unable to personally pick up or submit an Emergency Absentee Ballot may designate a representative todeliver the absentee ballot to the voter and then have that same individual return the completed absentee ballot to the County Board of Elections, by completing the appropriate forms below.

Designation of Agent to Assist Disabled Voter in Delivering Completed Absentee or Alternative Ballot and Certification of Designated Agent Forms (PDF)

Last Minute Emergency Absentee Ballot

Last Minute Emergency Ballot Application Procedures: If an emergency occurs after 5:00 PM on the Friday before Election Day but before the close of polls at 8:00 PM on Election Day, then a voter may still receive an Emergency Absentee Ballot by filing the appropriate paperwork with the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.  Acceptable paperwork would be an Emergency Absentee Ballot Application or a letter or other signed document that includes the same information contained on the Emergency Absentee Ballot Application.  

Emergency Application for voters who experience an emergency between 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day and 8 p.m. on Election Day (PDF)

Those who are unable to personally submit an Emergency Absentee Ballot Application may designate, in writing, a representative todeliver the absentee ballot to the voter and then have that same individual return the completed absentee ballot to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. 

Designation of Agent to Assist Disabled Voter in Delivering Completed Absentee or Alternative Ballot and Certification of Designated Agent Forms (PDF)

Alternative Ballot

Alternative Ballot Requirements: If you are a registered voter who is disabled or age 65 or older AND who is assigned to an inaccessible polling place, you are qualified to vote using an alternative ballot.

How to Determine if your Polling Place is Accessible: Click here to see which divisions do not qualify for alternative ballot use, or call the County Board of Elections in Room 142 City Hall at 215-686-3469.

Where to Obtain an Alternative Ballot Application:  Alternative ballot applications may be obtained at the County Board of Elections in Room 142 City Hall, by calling 215-686-3469, or by clicking the link below. 

 Download Alternative Ballot Application

Deadline for Alternative Ballot Applications: Alternative ballot applications MUST be received by the County Board of Elections no later than 5:00 PM the Tuesday before an election. Postmarks are NOT honored; applications must be in the office before the deadline.

Deadline for Alternative Ballots: All completed Alternative ballots, including Emergency Alternative Ballots, must be returned to the County Board of Elections no later than the close of the polls, at 8:00 PM on Election Day. Postmarks are NOT honored; the ballot must be in the office of the County Board of Elections.  

If necessary, you may authorize a representative to deliver an Alternative Ballot to you and then return your completed ballot to the County Board of Elections. 

Designation of Agent to Assist Disabled Voter in Delivering Completed Absentee or Alternative Ballot and Certification of Designated Agent Forms (PDF)

Emergency Alternative Ballot

In case of an emergency, you can submit an Emergency Application for Alternative Ballot, which must be received by the County Board of Elections by 8:00 PM on Election Day.

Download Emergency Alternative Ballot Application

If necessary, you may authorize a representative to deliver an Emergency Alternative Ballot to you and then return your completed ballot to the County Board of Elections. 

Designation of Agent to Assist Disabled Voter in Delivering Completed Absentee or Alternative Ballot and Certification of Designated Agent Forms (PDF)

Official Notice of Election for Military and Overseas Voters

This is an official notice of an election to be conducted on 11/04/2014 in Philadelphia County.  You may register to vote and request an official absentee ballot by using the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA), available at www.votespa.comor www.fvap.gov.  You may apply for an absentee ballot by submitting your FPCA by fax to          (215 ) 686 - 3398, or by email to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

You may request an absentee ballot from this office at any time prior to a primary or election.  However, if time does not permit you to receive and return an official absentee ballot, you are also entitled to vote using the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB).  Military electors may also use the FWAB to register to vote and vote simultaneously. 

You may use the FWAB to vote for a candidate for U.S. Representative (Representative in Congress) as well as candidates for all state and local offices, and ballot initiatives.

To vote for U.S. Representative (Representative in Congress), write in the name of the candidate of your choice in the space provided on the FWAB.

To vote for state and local offices or for ballot initiatives, write the names of candidates or ballot initiatives in the Addendum section of the FWAB.  Under the Office/Ballot Initiative heading, enter the office the candidate is running for or the title of the Ballot Initiative (referendum).   Under the Candidate Name, Party Affiliation or Initiative Vote heading, list the name of the candidate you wish to vote for, or  if you are voting on a Referendum questions write “yes” or “no.”

For a list of Candidites running for Office click here

 Download Military and Overseas Write-In Ballot