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When is the 2024 Pennsylvania primary? Date, who's on the ballot, how to vote by mail

How Philadelphia DA's Office plans to keep city safe on primary day
How Philadelphia DA's Office plans to keep city safe on primary day 01:44

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Pennsylvania's 2024 primary election is Tuesday and it's important to have all the information you need before casting your ballot. 

You don't have to do it all at the last minute. We're going to list out everything you need to know about when the primary election is, when and where to vote, and of course, who's running.

What is the date of the 2024 Pennsylvania primary?

The Pennsylvania primary election is set for April 23, 2024. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you plan to vote by mail, your ballot is due in your county's elections office by 8 p.m. on April 23.  

Can I still register to vote in Pennsylvania? Where do I vote? 

At this point, all deadlines to register to vote in the primary and applications for mail-in or absentee ballots have passed.     

However, if you recently renewed your driver's license, you might already be registered to vote. Pennsylvania implemented "motor voter" rules at the commonwealth's driver's license centers last year.

Under the new rules that took effect in September 2023, drivers are prompted to register to vote when they receive or renew a driver's license.

You can check if you're registered to vote and where your polling place is in Pennsylvania using this "Find voter registration status" form on the Pennsylvania Department of State's website, Vote.PA.Gov.

If you have polling place issues you can call (215)-686-VOTE. If you need assistance with voter intimidation or legal issues in Philadelphia, you can call the district attorney's office at (215)-686-9641. 

What is a primary election?

In a primary election, voters decide which political candidate will run in a general election. In Pennsylvania, you can only vote for the candidate under the party that you are registered with.

While the state's primary election usually takes place in May, during presidential years the primary election is held on the fourth Tuesday of April

Since this is a presidential year, each political party will hold a convention where they choose their nominee for president based on the results of primary elections. 

Most common reasons mail ballots are thrown out: don't send a naked ballot

If you're voting by mail, you have to do it right -  follow the instructions to the letter, or your vote might not count.

Pennsylvania's vote-by-mail process has been the subject of lawsuits over whether certain errors on ballots invalidate them. So don't let your ballot be one of them. 

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, over 16,000 mail-in ballots in the November 2022 election were thrown out due to errors including the wrong date, lack of a signature, no date, or no security envelope (also known as a "naked ballot").

In the 2023 primary, over 17,000 mail ballots were rejected, amounting to about 2.8% of the 597,000 mail ballots cast.

Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt announced a ballot redesign last year aimed at reducing the number of rejections.

Here are some of the most common mail-in ballot errors with a brief explanation and how to avoid them:

Naked ballot

A naked ballot means it's missing the security envelope. In the Instagram Reel above, Montgomery County Director of Voter Services Dori Sawyer showed CBS Philadelphia's Kim Hudson how to properly fill out a mail ballot.

Once you've made the selections on your ballot, first put it in the inner security envelope.

Then that security envelope goes in the larger labeled envelope that you mail back to your county elections office (or drop in a mail-in ballot drop box).

Solution: Put your mail-in ballot in the inner security envelope and then put it in the outer, signed and dated, envelope before sending.

No date or wrong date

Problem: Mail-in ballots must be marked in the date field with the date you are mailing them - which has to be before Election Day. A lot of people have been writing their birthdate in this field - but it should be a date in March or April 2024 - prior to April 23.

The redesigned ballots have the date field pre-filled with a "20" in the year position - to avoid people writing their birthdate, according to Schmidt's office.

Solution: Put the correct date, the date you are returning/mailing your ballot, in the date field.

No signature

Some people also returned the mail-in ballot without a signature.

Solution: Sign your ballot!

Who is on the 2024 Pennsylvania primary ballot?  


The battleground state's primary election is relatively late, and Republican Donald Trump is currently running unopposed since former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley suspended her 2024 GOP presidential campaign in early March.

Democrat Joe Biden is also running unopposed in the primary. This comes as his remaining challenger Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota dropped his long-shot Democratic primary bid against Biden in early March. 


Democrat U.S. Sen. Bob Casey does not face a primary opponent and neither does Republican challenger David McCormick. Control of the U.S. Senate is on the line in 2024, and Casey's bid for a fourth term is expected to be one of the nation's most expensive and closely watched races.

Primary voters will also have to make their choices in other races.

Philadelphia leaders aim to rally 2,024 men for "Black Men Vote" initiative 00:38


All 17 incumbents — nine Democrats and eight Republicans — are running for reelection in Pennsylvania's 17 congressional seats.

Only a handful of the seats are expected to be competitive in the November general election.

In the primary, just five have a direct challenger from within their party: Democratic Rep. Dwight Evans of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh-area Democratic U.S. Rep. Summer Lee and Republican U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly of Butler and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Bucks County.

Evans is facing former Philadelphia Register of Wills Tracey Gordon to lead the 3rd District encompassing several areas of Philadelphia. 

Fitzpatrick's bid for reelection is also gaining attention. He is facing a challenge from Mike Houck for his 1st District seat. The winner will face Democratic challenger Ashley Ehasz.

In the 7th District in eastern Pennsylvania, three Republicans are vying for the nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Susan Wild of Allentown. They are state Rep. Ryan MacKenzie, IT firm owner Kevin Dellicker and lawyer Maria Montero.

Meanwhile, in southcentral Pennsylvania's 10th District, six Democrats are seeking the nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Perry of York County. They are former public radio executive Blake Lynch, business consultant John Broadhurst, former TV news personality Janelle Stelson, Harrisburg City Council member Shamaine Daniels, retired Marine Corps pilot Michael O'Brien and Rick Coplen, a teacher and retired Army officer.

Attorney general

Five Democrats filed for the party's primary.

They include state Rep. Jared Solomon of Philadelphia, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, former state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, former federal prosecutor Joe Khan and Keir Bradford-Grey, the former head of Philadelphia's and Montgomery County's public defense lawyers.

On the Republican side, York County's district attorney, Dave Sunday, and state Rep. Craig Williams of Delaware County filed to run.


Stacy Garrity, the Republican incumbent, filed to run for a second four-year term. On the Democratic side, two filed to run: state Rep. Ryan Bizarro of Erie and Erin McClelland, a two-time congressional candidate in suburban Pittsburgh who has helped run various human services organizations.

Auditor general

The Republican incumbent, Tim DeFoor, filed to run for a second four-year term. On the Democratic side, two filed to run: state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta of Philadelphia and Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley.

Primary elections in New Jersey and Delaware 

In New Jersey, voters will cast their primary ballots on June 4 and the deadline to register is set for May 14.

Delaware canceled its primary that was initially set for April 2 after lawmakers approved the legislation in March. The primary was not seen as needed because Biden and Trump, the prevailing presidential candidates, do not have challengers within their party. 

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