An absentee ballot in PA is a way to still vote in the election, if you cannot be present at the polls on the day of the election to vote. Please note that you can ONLY get an absentee ballot if you have a disability or illness that prevents you from getting to the polls, OR if you will be missing from the area on election day. Ways to get an absentee ballot:
A) By mail: The easiest and most popular way to get an absentee ballot.
1. Filling out the application: The absentee ballot application form can be found here (linked to document). All applicants must fill out section one with all requested information. (For more information on filling out section one, see the page “Voting ID Law” on the Voting Locations page.) In section two, applicants must indicate the reason they cannot be present to vote by checking off one of two boxes. If it is because you will be absent from the municipality, check the corresponding box and fill out section A. If it is because of illness or physical disability, check that box and fill out section B.
2. Submitting the application: The absentee ballot application must arrive in the voter registration office by October 31st. Mail the completed form to the Voter Registration Office of the county where you are registered to vote. The mailing address for the Columbia County Voter Registration Office is Colombia County Elections, PO BOX 380, Bloomsburg, PA, 17815.
3. Receiving your absentee ballot: If your absentee ballot application is approved, you will receive an absentee ballot in the mail several weeks prior to the election. If you have not received your absentee ballot by the second week of October, call the Voter Registration Office. The Columbia County Voter Registration Office can be reached at (570) 398-5640 and the address is at the Columbia County Annex Building, first floor, 11 W Main St, Bloomsburg, PA 17815.
4. Submitting your absentee ballot: The absentee ballot must arrive at the Voter Registration Office by November 3rd, so complete and mail the ballot as soon as you receive it. This ballot should be mailed to the same location that you sent your initial application.
B) In person: An alternative to absentee voting by mail. YOU CAN ONLY DO THIS IF YOU ARE IN TOWN ONE WEEK BEFORE THE ELECTION but will not be able to go the polls on Election Day.
1. Filling out the application: The absentee ballot application form can be found here (linked to document). All applicants must fill out section one with all requested information. (For more information on filling out section one, see the page “Voting ID Law”) In section two, applicants must indicate the reason they cannot be present to vote by checking off one of two boxes. If it is because you will be absent from the municipality, check the corresponding box and fill out section A. If it is because of illness or physical disability, check that box and fill out section B.
2. Obtaining your ballot: Bring your absentee ballot application to the Voter Registration Office. You must bring your absentee ballot to the Voter Registration Office by October 31st. The Voter Registration Office can begin accepting APPLICATIONS in person as soon as it receives ballots from the state. Ballots will not be available until the week before the election. To find out when this is, call the office. The phone number of the Columbia County Voter Registration Office is (570) 389-5640.
Upon receipt and approval of your application, the Voter Registration Office will provide you an absentee ballot to fill out in person.
Voter ID Law
Columbia County Court House
Annex Building on the right
For voting in person, voters DO NOT need to show identification at the polling place. The only exception is if it is a person’s FIRST time voting at THAT SPECIFIC polling location. In this case voters need either photo identification OR a non-photo identification that contains the voter’s name and address. Examples of approved identification are below.
Driver’s license or PennDOT ID card
ID issued by Pennsylvania
ID issued by the United States of America
United States of America Passport
United States of America Armed Forces ID
Student or employee’s card
Voter registration card issued by a C Pennsylvanian county
Non-photo ID issued by Pennsylvania
Non-photo ID issued by the United States of America
Current utility bill
To vote absentee, a voter most provide proof of identification. If it is the first time a voter is voting absentee, then they are limited to the types of identification they can use. If the first-time absentee voter has a valid driver’s license or PennDOT ID card, the voter MUST use one of these. If the first-time absentee voter does not have a driver’s license or PennDOT ID card, then the voter must provide last four digits of their Social Security Number. If the first-time absentee voter has neither a driver’s license nor a PennDot ID card nor a Social Security card number, then the voter must provide a copy of a current photo ID with an expiration date.
There are a number of places to register to vote and/or get absentee ballots. Voter Registration at the Columbia County Court House Annex can best aid you. They can also help you with an absentee ballot if needed. You can visit them at 11 West Main St. Bloomsburg, go to their website, or call them at (570) 389-5640.
PA now has on-line registration. Register NOW on-line!
The most extensive online voter information is available at votesPA.com.
The registration form must be received by the voter registrar of your county at least 30 days before the election. Postmarks ARE NOT an indication of timely filing.
Columbia County Democratic Committee