On Monday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced a move that he believes will make voting easier for thousands of Pennsylvanians.
Starting on Sept. 16, Pennsylvanians will be able to apply online for absentee ballots for the first time for the upcoming Nov. 5 election.
“Applying for an absentee ballot online will make the process faster and more accessible for thousands of voters,” Wolf said in a release. “This builds on the option to register to vote online which Pennsylvania launched four years ago and it will provide an easier way for people to exercise their right to vote.”
The absentee ballots will still need to be completed by mail or hand-delivered to election offices by 5 pm on Nov. 1. The deadline to apply for absentee ballots for the upcoming election is Oct. 29.
The release from the Governor’s office also said that since the administration launched online voter registration in Aug. 2015 that more than 1.4 million registration applications or changes have been submitted online.
This change in absentee ballot applications was also welcomed by Republicans in Harrisburg, although they added that more still can be done to improve voting practices in the state.
“Governor Wolf’s decision today is a good step toward increasing voter access to absentee ballots,” Jenn Kocher, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre), said in a statement. “We still believe meaningful legislative changes such as the ones vetoed by the Governor earlier this year still need to be made in order to significantly improve the Commonwealth’s voting practices.”
In July, Wolf vetoed legislation put forth from state Sen. John Gordner (R-Columbia), that would have loosened absentee voting deadlines, citing in part that it also would have ended the straight-party ticket option.
The online applications for absentee ballots beginning Monday can be found here: votespa.com/applyabsentee.