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Posted on: February 22, 2021

Delaware County Bureau of Elections 2021 Primary Kickoff Update

2021-Primary-Election-Update

Delaware County and the County’s Bureau of Elections are finalizing preparations for the upcoming 2021 Municipal Primary Election scheduled for Tuesday, May 18. Important dates, deadlines and resources for candidates, campaigns, poll workers and voters have been updated on the Delco Votes! website at delcopa.gov/vote.

Residents with questions about the election process—either as a candidate, voter, or poll worker—are encouraged to visit the Delco Votes! website and to check back throughout the spring as new information and materials become available.

Voters who are new to Delaware County or have recently turned 18 will need to register to vote in order to vote in the upcoming election. Voters who have moved, changed their name, or updated their political party affiliation since the last election will need to update their registration. Both processes use the same form, which can be downloaded from Delco Votes! 

The deadline for residents to register or to update their registration is Tuesday, May 3. Residents with questions about registration or their status can contact the Voter Registration department by phone at (610) 891-4659 or by email at VoterReg@co.delaware.pa.us

As a reminder, Pennsylvania has closed primaries. This means that during a primary election, voters who indicate “Democratic” or “Republican” on their Voter Registration Application will only be able to vote for candidates from their registered party, for candidates in nonpartisan contests, and for ballot initiatives. Voters who do not choose a party affiliation can only vote for candidates in nonpartisan contests and for ballot initiatives.

    Annual Mail-in Ballot Application List Mailing

Last year, over 100,000 Delaware County voters indicated on their mail-in/absentee ballot application that they would like to be included on a new “Annual Mail-In and Absentee Voter List.” As a result of this opt-in, each of those voters will automatically be sent a single application to request a mail-in/absentee ballot for each election that will be held in 2021. 

These applications were mailed on Thursday, February 11, and will be delivered over the following 1-2 weeks. These are applications for mail-in ballots—they are not the ballots themselves. Mail-in ballots will be mailed in April. 

“Delaware County voters chose to vote-by-mail in record numbers in 2020, and we anticipate that many voters will want to vote-by-mail—whether it’s through the post office or one of our newly installed ballot drop boxes,” said Delaware County Chief Clerk of Elections, Laureen Hagan. “It’s important that voters understand that they still need to submit a new application for mail-in ballots in 2021.”  

Voters who prefer to vote in-person can ignore the application or return the application and indicate that they wish to be removed from the list and vote in-person in the future.

Voters should also be aware that they could receive multiple mail-in ballot applications from other organizations who are attempting to increase voter turnout and ensure that voter safety during the ongoing pandemic. Voters only need to return one valid application to the Bureau of Elections and can ignore any additional application(s) that they may receive. 

Additionally, approximately 50,000 Delaware County voters requested a vote-by-mail ballot in 2020 but did NOT opt-in to the Annual Mail-in Ballot Application List. These individuals are expected to
vote in-person for all 2021 elections unless they request a mail-in/absentee ballot. Applications can be requested and submitted through the Delco Votes! website.

Nomination Petitions

One of the first steps for any resident who decides to run for public office is the submission (or “filing”) of a nomination petition packet. These packets include various legal documents, including petitions that include valid signatures of Delaware County-registered voters. The minimum required number of signatures varies by the office being sought.

The first date for candidates and their campaign staff to circulate and file nomination petitions for the municipal primary is Tuesday, February 16, and the final deadline for filing is Tuesday, March 9. Candidates can visit Delco Votes! at delcopa.gov/vote, or the Votes PA website at www.votespa.com, for detailed guidance, reminders, downloadable materials, and deadlines.

Campaign Finance

As part of the ongoing effort to modernize the process and reduce mailings and in-person interactions during COVID, the Bureau of Elections has created a new email address for campaign finance-related questions and for the filing of campaign finance reports, statements, and unsworn declarations.. The address is CampaignFinance@co.delaware.pa.us

Note that candidates submitting their Political Committee Registration Statements must continue to submit hard-copies with original signatures (no photocopies) in-person or through the mail.

Bureau of Elections
201 W. Front Street
Media, Pennsylvania 19063

2021 Primary Election Deadlines:

  • Monday, May 3, 2021: Deadline to Register to Vote in the Primary Election (postmarks do not apply)
  • Tuesday, May 11, 2021 by 5 p.m.: Last Day to Apply for Mail-in or Absentee Ballots
  • Tuesday, May 18, 2021: Primary Election Day, polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 25, 2021: Last day to receive Military and Overseas Absentee Ballots

2021 General Election Deadlines:

  • Monday, October 18, 2021: Last Day to Register to Vote in the General Election (postmarks do not apply)
  • Tuesday, October 26, 2021 by 5 p.m.: Last Day to Apply for Mail-in or Absentee Ballots
  • Tuesday, November 2, 2021: General Election Day, polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 9, 2021: Last day to receive Military and Overseas Absentee Ballots


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