PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — The Nov. 8 election is just a week away, and although Nov. 1 is the deadline to request a mail-in or absentee ballot and they don’t have to be received until Nov. 8, Pennsylvania’s Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman is encouraging voters to hand-deliver any unsent ballots now rather than putting them in the mail.

Voters should hand-deliver their ballots to their county election office, a drop box, or another designated location as soon as possible, Chapman said in a release on Tuesday.

“It’s time to return your mail ballot to ensure it arrives by the deadline of 8 p.m. on Election Day. Do not wait until the last minute,” Chapman said during a press conference.

To successfully cast a mail-in or absentee ballot, the Department of State says voters should:

  • Fill out their ballot, following instructions on how to mark selections
  • Seal the ballot in the inner secrecy envelope marked “Official Election Ballot,” and do not make any stray marks on the envelope
  • Seal the secrecy envelope in the pre-addressed outer return envelope
  • Sign and date the declaration on the outer return envelope

The deadline to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot in Pennsylvania is Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. The Department of State is urging voters to fill out and return those ballots as soon as they receive them.

Voters also have the option of voting by mail in person at their county election office through 5 p.m. on Nov. 1. This involves applying for a ballot, waiting while eligibility is verified, then completing and returning the ballot all in one visit, the Department of State explains.

“Under Pennsylvania law, voters may return only their own ballots,” the Department of State notes. “The only exceptions to this are for voters with a disability who have designated someone in writing to deliver their ballot, or voters who need third-party delivery of an emergency absentee ballot if they have an unexpected illness, disability or last-minute absence from their municipality.”

Voters who apply for mail-in ballots but do not receive them can vote by provisional ballot at their polling place on Election Day. The Department of State explains that their county board of elections will verify that they did not vote by mail before counting their provisional ballot.

“Election Day is a week away,” Chapman said. “It’s time to execute your plan to vote. If you have a mail ballot, hand-deliver it immediately. And if you plan to vote in person on Nov. 8, be sure you know where your polling place is and have arranged for any needed transportation.”

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8. Voters in line by 8 p.m. should stay there, Chapman said, as they will still be able to vote.