June 2nd PA Primary Election Day Changes

On March 27, Governor Wolf signed Senate Bill 422, which rescheduled Pennsylvania’s primary election
from April 28 to June 2 due to the COVID-19 emergency. Voters have the option to vote by mail-in ballot
rather than going to their polling place on Election Day. Mail-in ballot applications will be accepted
through Tuesday, May 26, 2020. If a voter has already applied for an absentee or mail-in ballot, they do
NOT need to reapply. Deadline to Return Completed Absentee Ballot: Tue Jun 2, 2020 8:00PM EDT.

What are mail ballots?

Mail-in ballot – Any qualified voter may apply for a mail-in ballot. You may simply request this ballot without a reason. In order to request either ballot type, you must be registered to vote. Apply Online at VotesPA.com/ApplyMailBallot

Registered voters can apply for a mail-in ballot online with a valid PA driver’s license or photo I.D. from the PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

Due to the continuing Corona Virus pandemic, polling places for the 2020 Primary are being consolidated. Philadelphia is one of four counties that have asked the Pennsylvania Department of State, which oversees elections, to grant an exemption allowing it to reduce polling places by more than the
60% authorized in the emergency law that postponed the state’s primary from April. “Entire election boards are telling us that they will not be working due to COVID-19,” City Commissioner, Lisa Deeley said. “We have been exploring our election-day plan for some time now.”

This legislation moved the primary election from April 28 to June 2 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also included a number of emergency provisions regarding poll worker assignment and polling place changes. Much of the consolidation is being driven by regularly elected or appointed workers, many of whom are seniors, being unavailable to serve due the health risks and fewer available polling locations.

“The 2020 primary will represent a tectonic shift in how Pennsylvanians vote,” remarked David Thornburgh, President and CEO of the Committee of Seventy. “Unprecedented numbers of voters will vote by mail. Voters who vote in person will experience longer lines. All of us will be concerned about the health risks. Before June 2, we’ve all got to take responsibility for learning how to vote, and encouraging our friends and neighbors to learn as well. Through our WeVote awareness campaign, we’re doing everything we can to encourage voters to vote by mail, and understand where and how they can vote safely and securely if they choose to vote in person on June 2nd. ” Provisional ballots will be used by those voting in person, the machines that were introduced for the first time in the last election will not be used.

The state’s two most populous counties, Philadelphia and Allegheny, alone are shifting 4 out of 5 regular locations in these jurisdictions that will not be open on June 2. Philadelphia will have nearly 80% fewer polling places in the upcoming election due to the strains placed on the city’s election machine by the coronavirus. The City Commissioners plan to approve a list of 188 polling locations for the upcoming June 2 primary, down from more than 830 in last November’s election. As of May 13, more than 112,000
Philadelphia voters had requested mail-in ballots. Recent analyses of mail-in ballot applications in the city by the Sixty Six Wards blog show substantial and troubling differences in the demographic of those choosing the vote-by-mail option, with white voters under 40 far outpacing other groups.

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