One of Philadelphia's mail ballot drop boxes in 2020

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Mail ballot drop boxes are open for the 2021 primary in Philadelphia.

The May 18 election features a race for Philadelphia district attorney and lots of judicial races, as well as four questions about changes to the Pennsylvania Constitution and one question about the city charter.

Check out the Billy Penn procrastinator’s guide to the primary for all the details here.

This marks the second year with no-excuse mail voting in Pennsylvania. Applications for mail ballots opened in February. If you applied to be a “permanent” mail voter last year, you still had to re-apply to receive ballots for 2021.

More than 365,000 Philadelphians voted by mail in last year’s presidential race — making up a little under half the historic voter turnout. Turnout is typically lower in off-year municipal elections like this one, and it remains unclear whether we’ll see a spike with the contested district attorney’s race at the top of the ticket. About 150,000 total voters cast ballots in the last district attorney’s race in 2017.

Haven’t applied for yours yet? The deadline is May 11. You can do it online at

You can also make an in-person visit to Philadelphia City Hall. Registered voters can go to the County Board of Elections office in Room 140 and apply, vote on, and return a mail ballot all in the same visit. The office is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you already have your ballot, you can return it at 14 locations citywide — you don’t have to find the one in your voting division. But you cannot drop off someone else’s ballot for them without filling out this paperwork first.

The Office of City Commissioners is also hosting a series of two-hour pop-up events all over the city where you can hand over your voted ballot directly. Scroll down for the list of dates and times.

Ballots must be received by election officials by the time the polls close: 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 18.

Ballot drop boxes accessible 24/7

Each drop-off location is monitored by round-the-clock security cameras. 

  • City Hall (South Broad Apron): 1400 John F Kennedy Blvd, 19107
  • Riverview Place (Columbus Boulevard side of the building): 520 N Columbus Blvd, 19123
  • The Eastern State Penitentiary: 2027 Fairmount Ave, 19130
  • Markward Playground: 400 S Taney St, 19146
  • Pelbano Rec. Center: 8101 Bustleton Ave, 19152
  • Ford PAL Rec. Center: 609 Snyder Ave, 19148
  • Smith Playground: 2100 S 24th St, 19145
  • Vogt Rec. Center: 4131 Unruh Ave, 19135
  • Independence Branch Library: 18 S 7th St, 19106
  • Dorothy Emanuel Rec. Center: 8500 Pickering Street, 19150
  • Pleasant Playground: 305 Slocum Street, 19119
  • Shissler Rec. Center: 1800 Blair Street, 19125
  • Chalfont Playground: 4382 Deerpath Lane, 19154
  • Stenton Playground: 4600 N 16th, 19140

Staffed ballot drop-off events

Saturday, May 8

  • W. C. Longstreth Elementary, 5700 Willows Ave. (9 to 11 a.m.)
  • Water Tower Rec Center, 209 E. Hartwell Ln. (9 to 11 a.m.)
  • Alain Locke Elementary, 4550 Haverford Ave. (12 to 2 p.m.)
  • Shawmont Elementary, 535 Shawmont Ave. (12 to 2 p.m.)
  • Lot K of Lincoln Financial Field, Pattison Ave. (12 to 2 p.m.)
  • Overbrook Elementary, 2032 N. 62nd St. (3 to 5 p.m.)
  • McMichael Park, 3299 Midvale Ave. (3 to 5 p.m.)

Monday, May 10

  • McMichael Park, 3299 Midvale Ave. (4:30 to 6:30 p.m.)

Wednesday, May 12

  • Alain Locke Elementary, 4550 Haverford Ave. (4:30 to 6:30 p.m.)

Thursday, May 13

  • Shawmont Elementary, 535 Shawmont Ave. (4:30 to 6:30 p.m.)

Saturday, May 15

  • Water Tower Rec Center, 209 E. Hartwell Ln. (9 to 11 a.m.)
  • Feltonville Intermediate School, 238 E. Wyoming Ave. (9 to 11 a.m.)
  • Shawmont Elementary, 535 Shawmont Ave. (12 to 2 p.m.)
  • Julia De Burgos Elementary, 401 W. Lehigh Ave. (12 to 2 p.m.)
  • McMichael Park, 3299 Midvale Ave. (3 to 5 p.m.)
  • Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad St. (3 to 5 p.m.)

Sunday, May 16

  • Parkwest Town Center, 52nd and Jefferson (9 to 11 a.m.)
  • Washington High Schoool, 10175 Bustleton Ave. (9 to 11 a.m.)
  • Alain Locke Elementary, 4550 Haverford Ave. (12 to 2 p.m.)
  • J. Hampton Moore School, 6900 Summerdale Ave.. (12 to 2 p.m.)
  • Bartram High School, 2401 S. 67th St. (3 to 5 p.m.)
  • Bridesburg Rec Center, 4625 Richmond St.. (3 to 5 p.m.)

Monday, May 17

  • Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility, 7901 State Rd. (4 to 6 p.m.)
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Max Marin (he/him) was Billy Penn's investigative reporter from 2018 to 2021. A graduate of Temple University, he has produced award-winning journalism on local politics, criminal justice, immigration...