Keep Your Distance: Vote by Mail in Butler County

Vote by Mail Primary ElectionPennsylvania’s change to mail-in-voting-for-all could not have been better timed. It was approved late in 2019, simply to make voting more accessible for all PA residents. 

Now, in the midst of a deadly pandemic, a mail-in-ballot could be a literal lifesaver.  

The Butler County Democratic Committee strongly urges all voters to avoid the polls and vote by mail for the Primary Election on June 2. This means:

  1. Submitting an application for a ballot by May 26
  2. Submitting a completed ballot to the Butler County Bureau of Elections by 8 p.m. June 2

And because the Butler County Bureau of Elections has reported high volumes of voters submitting applications for ballots, they ask that you apply now instead of waiting until the deadline. 

Following are some tips to help you get started, and know what to expect throughout this new process.

Apply for a ballot now 

To vote by mail, have your PA Driver’s License or PennDOT ID number handy and go to VotesPA.com. There you can verify your voter registration and then submit an online application in just a minute or two. 

The application will ask if you’d like to automatically renew your mail-in ballot request. With this option, once your application is approved, you can automatically receive a mail-in ballot for the November general election. We strongly recommend this option!

If you don’t have the required ID, print out an application and return to the Butler County Election Bureau, or call the bureau and request that they send you a ballot application. This added mailing will delay the mailing of your ballot, and county officials ask that if at all possible, voters submit their applications on-line.

If you have any trouble with the application, contact the Democratic Party Voter Hotline at 1-833-728-6837.

Track your application 

As you wait for your ballot to arrive you can check the status of your submission on the PA ballot-tracking site

A word of caution: When the site says your ballot was sent, it really means a mailing label was printed. In Butler County, those labels were printed weeks before the county had any applications to mail, according to a registrar in the office. Ballots started being mailed in the first week in May. If you see that it was sent on April 21 and haven’t received the ballot as of May 21, call 724-284-5309 to check with the Election Bureau staff to confirm that nothing’s gone wrong with the mailing.

Check your ballot

When you receive your ballot in the mail, check it immediately. Some people have received the wrong party’s ballot for the primary, which county officials chalk up to overworked, inexperienced staff. They’ll send you a new ballot quickly. 

Don’t be alarmed to see a “D” written on the outside of your ballot envelope. This is done throughout PA because it is a primary election, where Democratic and Republican votes are tallied separately. 

Vote early!

Finally, Pennsylvanians have early voting! Complete and return your ballot by mail as soon as possible to eliminate any possibility of mail delays.

You’ll be asked to complete a form on the larger, outer envelope. The date requested should be the date of mailing.  Do not write anything on the smaller secrecy envelope.

All ballots must be at the Butler County Bureau of Elections by 8 p.m. June 2. A ballot postmarked on June 2 that arrives on June 3 will not be counted.. 

If you’re worried your ballot won’t arrive on time by mail, you can drop it off at the election bureau in person during regular office hours (8:30-a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday). On election day, ballots can be dropped off until 8 p.m. You must wear a protective mask to enter the building.

Spread the word about vote-by-mail

Help your friends, neighbors, and family to apply to vote by mail. Share the link to the application site, and for your sake as well as the poll workers’, let’s have as few people at the polls as possible on June 2. Covid-19 is a threat we can all avoid by staying home on Election Day.