HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt urged Pennsylvanians planning to vote by mail ballot in the May primary election to apply online or in person before the May 9 deadline.

“With just a week before the deadline, apply online or in person today so you have time to receive your mail ballot, fill it out, and return it by 8 p.m. on Primary Election Day, which is May 16,” Schmidt said. “Remember that voters who apply for a mail ballot in person at their county board of elections office can complete their ballot and return it all in one visit.”

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, more than 683,000 Pennsylvanians have applied for mail ballots and more than 63,000 Pennsylvanians have applied for an absentee ballot to vote primary.

As quoted in the release, all votes should read the instructions carefully and follow the steps below to ensure their ballot is counted:

  • Enclose the mail ballot in the inner security envelope marked “official election ballot” and seal it. Do not make any stray marks on the envelope.
  • Seal the inner security envelope in the pre-addressed outer envelope.
  • Sign and write the current date on the voter’s declaration on the outer envelope.

Voters should return their voted ballot to their county board of elections as soon as possible. They have two options:

  • Mail the ballot. Mailed ballots must be received by 8 p.m. May 16. Mail ballots received after that time will not count, even if postmarked by 8 p.m. May 16.
  • Hand-deliver their ballot to their county elections officeofficially designated satellite office, or dropbox site. Hand-delivered ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on May 16

“Whichever voting option you prefer – by mail ballot, in person by mail ballot at your county elections office, or at the polls on Primary Election Day – make sure your voice is heard,” Schmidt said. “If you choose to vote by mail ballot, be sure you act quickly by completing and returning your mail ballot now.”

Voters who received an absentee or mail ballot may vote in person on May 16 only if they bring their unvoted mail ballot packet, including the outer envelope, so it can be voided. After they surrender their ballot packet and sign a declaration, they can then vote on their county’s voting system.