Campus Life

Students reminded to vote in 2020 primary, mail-in ballots encouraged

Deadline to register to vote is May 18, and deadline to receive a mail-in or absentee ballot is May 26

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State encourages eligible students to be engaged citizens by participating in elections and understanding the issues that affect them today and in the future. Voting in local, state and national elections is one of the most important duties of an engaged citizen. College-aged voters account for almost one-third of the eligible voting population, and young voters have the power to sway an election.

Deadline to register to vote

The deadline to register to vote for the Pennsylvania Primary Election is May 18. The Pennsylvania Primary Election will be held on June 2.

Mail-in ballots

Pennsylvania voters can now vote using a mail-in ballot for any reason. Penn State recommends students use this option to maintain social distancing and avoid going to their polling place on election day. Students who may not be living near the precinct where they are registered to vote can request an absentee ballot.

PA voters who choose to vote with a mail-in or absentee ballot can request a ballot application online. Online applicants must supply a driver's license number or an identification card number issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, as well as their name, address, phone number and email address.

Voters can request their mail-in or absentee ballots as early as 50 days before the election. For the PA Primary Election, deadlines are:

  • Apply for a mail-in ballot: The deadline for the election office to receive applications for mail-in or absentee ballots is 5 p.m. on May 26.
  • Mail your ballot: Your PA mail-in or absentee ballot must be received by the election office by 8 p.m. on June 2.

Students and primary elections

Each state holds a Primary Election between February and September to nominate candidates for the subsequent November General Election. Primary Elections allow voters to select the major party nominees for each public office for which there is an election in November. Voting in the Primary Election gives you the opportunity to help determine who will be on the General Election ballot in November. After the completion of the Primary Elections, the General Election will be held on November 3, 2020.

The outcome of these elections can have a huge impact on the day-to-day workings of your community. As a Penn State student, you have the option to register to vote using your college address where you live for most of the year and where many issues have an impact on you while you live here.

If you wish to register and vote in another state, you can find the forms and deadlines to register at or Vote411. Not sure if or where you’re registered to vote? Check your registration status in Pennsylvania or find out your registration status in another state.

For more information on how to vote, why to vote, and frequently asked questions related to voting as a college student visit The Center for Character, Conscience, and Public Purpose, a unit of Penn State Student Affairs, provides support and programming for "Get Out The Vote" efforts on campus and in the community.

Last Updated September 22, 2020