Pa. Election 2024: A Complete Guide to Who Is on the Primary Ballot, When to Vote, How to Vote, Where to Vote, Casting Mail Ballots & More

Pennsylvanians will see candidates for statewide races including attorney general, as well as U.S. Senate, and more on the April 23 primary election ballot.

Spotlight PA

Spotlight PA

Published April 1, 2024 12:50 am
Last Updated: April 4, 2024 5:07 pm
Pa. Election 2024: A Complete Guide to Who Is on the Primary Ballot, When to Vote, How to Vote, Where to Vote, Casting Mail Ballots & More

HARRISBURG, Pa. — On April 23, Democrats and Republicans across Pennsylvania will decide which candidates from their respective parties will go on to run in the general election.

(Photo: A sign showing people where they should cast their ballots for an election. Photo by Amanda Berg / For Spotlight PA)

Article by Elizabeth Estrada of Spotlight PA

On the ballot are candidates for president, U.S. House and Senate, Pennsylvania’s three row offices (attorney general, auditor general, and treasurer), and state House and Senate. Across the state, depending on where you live, there might also be ballot questions.

To help you prepare for the 2024 primary in Pennsylvania, we’ve answered some of your most frequently asked questions below:

Primary Election Day 2024 FAQ:

When is the 2024 primary Election Day in Pennsylvania?

Tuesday, April 23, 2024. Mark your calendar!

When do polls open for Pennsylvania’s 2024 election?

Polls open at 7 a.m and close at 8 p.m. As long as you are in line to vote by 8 p.m., you are entitled to cast a ballot.

When is the last day to register to vote?

The last day to register is April 8.

You can register online here, or submit a registration form in person or through the mail to your county election office by the same date.

Online voter registration applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. that day. Your county board of elections must receive mail and in-person applications by 5 p.m.

How can I check my voter registration?

You can check your registration here. You can search using your name, county, ZIP code, and birthday, or by entering your driver’s license or PennDOT identification card numbers.

How do I change parties?

To change your party affiliation, fill out the same voter registration form that you used to register the first time.

When filling out the form, select the box that says “change of party.” If you register less than 15 days before the election, the change will not take place until the next election cycle.

I’m a registered independent. Can I vote on April 23?

In Pennsylvania, if you are registered as an independent, you cannot vote for candidates in the primary election. Pennsylvania is one of nine states that has a closed primary system, meaning only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in their respective party's primary.

If you wish to participate in a specific party's primary, you must change your party affiliation before the registration deadline.

Unaffiliated and third-party voters can participate in special elections that coincide with the primary; they can also vote on statewide constitutional amendments and local ballot initiatives.

How do I find my polling place?

You can find your polling place here by entering your address.

What else do I need to know to vote in person?

If this is your first time voting or your first time voting since changing address, you’ll need to bring proof of identification. This can include any government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or U.S. passport; a utility bill or bank statement that includes your name and address, or a military or student ID. See the full list of options.

Can I still request a mail ballot?

You can apply for a mail ballot until April 16, either online or through the mail. However, your complete application must be received by the county office by 5 p.m. that day.

Here’s the application. You’ll need to provide your name, date of birth, proof of identification, and signature.

How do I vote absentee?

The process to request an absentee ballot is similar to that for requesting a mail ballot. You can apply online or download the form and send it to your county election office. However, the application requires you to list a reason for your absence, unlike a mail ballot. You can find the application here.

Applications are due April 16 by 5 p.m. and must be received by your county office by that time.

If you miss the April 16 deadline, you can still request an emergency absentee ballot from your county election office if you experience an unexpected illness, disability, or last-minute absence. You can request one here.

I applied but still haven’t gotten my absentee or mail ballot. What should I do?

You can check the status of your absentee or mail ballot here. If you’re worried your ballot won’t arrive with enough time to return it, you can call your county election office for advice on how to proceed.

You can also go to your county election office to request a ballot and fill it out on the spot, or go to your polling place and vote in person on Election Day.

I’ve received my absentee or mail ballot. How do I return it?

First, make sure you’ve filled it out completely and followed all instructions, including dating the ballot envelope properly. Otherwise, your ballot may not be counted.

Everyone can return their ballot through the mail or by dropping it off at their county election office. Some counties also have drop boxes available. Find county contact information here.

Your county election office must receive your ballot by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

If you have a disability that prevents you from returning your own ballot, you may fill out a form to designate someone else to return it for you. You must turn in the form with your mail ballot application, and the designee must have a copy on hand when they return your ballot.

Otherwise, you must return your own ballot.

A poll worker holds voting stickers for community members Nov. 7, 2023, at Central Elementary School in Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Photo by Matt Smith / For Spotlight PA.

Which races will I be voting on?

Pennsylvania voters will elect the candidates from their party who they would like to see move forward and run in the general election in November. On the ballot this year are elections for president, U.S. House and Senate, three state row offices (attorney general, auditor general, and treasurer), and for state House and Senate.

The winners of each race will face each other during the Nov. 5 general election.

President

The big-ticket item for many voters in this election is the presidential race.

In 2020, Pennsylvania was one of the decisive states in President Joe Biden’s victory after a highly contentious presidential election during the COVID-19 pandemic. Former President Donald Trump denied the loss, baselessly claimed fraud, and ultimately encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol while votes were being certified, in what culminated in the Jan. 6 riot and insurrection.

Four years later, Pennsylvania is expected to once again be one of the states that determines who wins the presidency.

Biden has already won enough delegates in the primary to become the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, though U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota will appear on the primary ballot in Pennsylvania despite suspending his campaign in early March.

Trump has secured the nomination for the Republican Party; despite dropping out of the race, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will appear on the ballot here.

U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate is made up of 100 senators, two from each state. Senators are elected to six-year terms, and every two years, approximately one-third of the body goes up for reelection.

This year, the primary U.S. Senate race is down to two candidates: Democratic incumbent and three-term U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, and Republican David McCormick.

Casey is a Scranton native who has held the seat since 2007, making him the longest-serving Democratic U.S. senator in Pennsylvania history. If reelected, it would be his fourth term. Before his Senate election, Casey served as Pennsylvania’s auditor general, then treasurer. His father, Bob Casey Sr., was a two-term Pennsylvania governor.

Learn more about Casey on his campaign website.

McCormick, who was born in Washington, Pennsylvania, is a former hedge fund manager and ran for U.S. Senate in 2022, but narrowly lost to Mehmet Oz in the primary. He served as under secretary of treasury, and later as deputy national security advisor during the George W. Bush administration.

While the primary is not contested, Pennsylvania’s general election for U.S. Senate is expected to be one of the most expensive races of its kind this year.

Currently, a narrow two-seat margin gives Democrats control of the chamber, but with 23 Democratic senators on the ballot this year, that balance could easily shift.

U.S. House

The U.S. House of Representatives is made up of 435 elected members. The number of representatives from each state is based on its population — Pennsylvania has 17 representatives.

Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms and are up for reelection during even years.

All 17 members of the Pennsylvania’s U.S. House delegation — nine Democrats and eight Republicans — seek reelection in 2024. Who is listed on your ballot will be dictated by the congressional district you live in.

To find who is running in your district, visit the state’s legislator lookup tool.

General Assembly

The Pennsylvania General Assembly acts as the legislative branch of the commonwealth, and as in the U.S. Congress, is composed of a lower and upper chamber: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The state Senate consists of 50 members and the state House has 203, making it the largest full-time legislature in the country.

The General Assembly is mainly responsible for proposing and passing state laws, and developing the state budget.

The chamber’s senators are elected to four-year terms, and half the body stands for election every two years. In 2024, lawmakers in odd-numbered districts are on the ballot. All state representatives must run for reelection every two years.

Currently, Democrats have control of the state House by two votes, while Republicans hold the state Senate by six.

To find who is running in your district, visit VOTE411, a tool from the League of Women Voters Education Fund.

Row offices

Pennsylvania has three elected row offices, all of which have competitive races this year: the attorney general, who is the commonwealth’s top prosecutor; the auditor general, who monitors the use of public funds; and the treasurer, who serves as the state’s financial custodian.

In the race for attorney general, Michelle Henry — who was appointed to replace Josh Shapiro after he departed the office to become governor — is not running to keep the role, which leaves the field open.

Democrats Keir Bradford-Grey, Eugene DePasquale, Joe Khan, Jared Solomon, and Jack Stollsteimer are all competing for their party’s nomination. On the Republican side, Dave Sunday and Craig Williams are competing for theirs.

You can read more about the candidates for attorney general here.

The race for auditor general has Republican incumbent Tim DeFoor running unopposed for the GOP nomination, while Malcolm Kenyatta and Mark Pinsley compete for the Democratic nomination.

You can read more about the candidates for auditor general here.

Similarly, the race for treasurer has Republican incumbent Stacy Garrity unopposed in her party’s primary, while Democrats Ryan Bizzarro and Erin McClelland compete for their party’s nod.

You can read more about the candidates for treasurer here.

What else will be on my ballot?

There are no statewide ballot measures this year, but some voters may see local ballot questions.

In Philadelphia, there will be a question on the primary ballot about whether the city should help pay for the legal defense of registered community organizations, or RCOs.

Check with your county election office to be sure.

Learn more about how Spotlight PA is covering the 2024 election.

BEFORE YOU GO… If you learned something from this article, pay it forward and contribute to Spotlight PA at spotlightpa.org/donate. Spotlight PA is funded by foundations and readers like you who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results.

Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit newsroom producing investigative and public-service journalism that holds the power to account and drives positive change in Pennsylvania. Sign up for our free newsletters.


Recent Articles