(Gif by Paige Gross)
At the start of 2020, we could expect that the primary election in Pennsylvania would mean significant lines at polling places, last-minute campaigning and a constant news cycle covering voting and the results.
Earlier this spring, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill moving Pennsylvania’s primary election date back from its original late April date to today, June 2, in order to keep state residents from having to go to the polls in the height of the coronavirus pandemic. In the bill, Wolf also allowed the use of mail-in ballots, for which voters could apply through May 26, and return via mail as of 8 p.m. today.
But yesterday, as cities around the state saw continued protests against the treatment of Black and Brown people by police, Wolf signed an executive order to extend the deadline for county election offices in Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties to receive absentee or mail-in ballots by mail to 5 p.m. June 9.
To be clear — you still need to hand deliver or drop ballots in the mail by today, June 2. And the deadline to hand deliver absentee or mail in ballots still remains 8 p.m. June 2.
But the six counties listed in Wolf’s executive order are part of a disaster emergency declaration, and the volume of ballots will take longer to process, the governor said.
“Curfews, travel restrictions and other unforeseen circumstances have made returning ballots more difficult in these counties,” Wolf said in a statement. “The extension will help to ensure that voters in those counties are not disenfranchised through no fault of their own.”
Reminder: In-person Election Day drop-off locations are available until 8PM today, June 2nd. The complete list of Election Day drop-off locations is available here: https://t.co/ecD9fWmjxQ #PhillyVotes pic.twitter.com/X2gbeWiAtT
— Commissioner Al Schmidt (@Commish_Schmidt) June 2, 2020
Here’s what you need to know:
- Nearly 1.8 million Pennsylvania voters applied for mail-in ballots this election. If you’ve received your mail-in or absentee ballot, you must place it in the mail today or drop it in a ballot drop-off location by 8 p.m. today. Find locations here.
- If you’re voting in-person, double check your polling place, as many were consolidated. Check your polling place here.
- Polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you are in line at 8 p.m., you are still able to vote.
- At polling places, the governor’s office suggests to still practice social distancing, wear a masks, bring your own blue or black ink pen to limit touching shared resources and bring sanitizer.
- Citywide curfew today starts at 8:30 p.m. to account for voting.
“This is an unprecedented time for Pennsylvania and our nation as we face a major public health crisis and civil unrest during an election,” said Wolf in a statement. “Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and I want to ensure that voters can cast their ballot and that it is received in time.”
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