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What you need to know ahead of PA's mail-in ballot application deadline

Voters must get their early votes to their county election boards by 5 p.m. on November 1

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — With just about a week from election day, time is running out for those that plan on voting in non-traditional ways.

If you plan on voting in the Commonwealth by an absentee or mail-in ballot,  there are a few deadlines and procedures you want to pay attention to.

"Tuesday, November 1 at 5 p.m. is the deadline for mail in ballots both to request one online or to request one in person in our office," Lancaster County Board of Elections and Registration Commission Chief Clerk Christa Miller said. "All mail ballots have to return to your county election office by 8 p.m. on election night.”

The only exception is military or overseas voters, whose ballots must be mailed by 11:59 p.m. on November 7, and must be received by County Election Boards by 5 p.m. on November 15.

Officials in multiple counties told FOX43 that mail-in ballots without dates or incorrect dates are being segregated from other ballots as a precaution.

“The courts are still once again in litigation over undated ballots, and the safest way to make sure that everything counts is to just sign and date, and to make sure you've done both," Miller said.

The Republican Party of Pennsylvania, among other petitioners, have asked the State Supreme Court that ballots without a date or an incorrect date not be counted.

FOX43 reached out to the PA GOP for comment but have yet to hear back.

Voters must also follow these steps if voting by mail.

• Seal your voted ballot in the secrecy envelope. This is important. Your ballot will not be counted if it is not in the secrecy envelope. Do not make any marks or write anything on the secrecy envelope. 

• Seal the secrecy envelope in the return envelope.

• Sign and put today's date on the form on the back of the return envelope.

Miller says you can mail or hand-deliver ballots, as long as they are received by the deadline.

 "It has to be in our hands by 8 p.m. on election night," Miller said. "So at this point, what we pretty much tell everybody is 'Don't count on the mail, we're a week away, bring it down to our office.'"

The Lancaster County office will have extended ballot drop off hours this week:

• Thursday and Friday night until 8 p.m. 

• Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The York County Board of Commissioners are hosting multiple ballot drop-box opportunities.

"Be patient with any of your county election offices that you're going to not just in Lancaster but across the state," Miller said. "Everyone's trying to do the best that they can and get everyone through as fast as possible."

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