Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar reminded voters that they have their choice of voting by mail-in ballot or going to their polling place on June 2, primary election day. While in person voting will be available for counties in the red phase of reopening, the Wolf administration is encouraging all voters to apply for a mail-in ballot.
“For the first time, Pennsylvanians have the option of voting by convenient and secure mail-in ballot without having to provide an excuse, thanks to the bipartisan Act 77 of 2019 signed into law by Gov. Wolf last fall,” Secretary Boockvar said. “But all counties, including those still in the COVID-19 pandemic red phase on June 2, will have polling places open for voters who prefer to vote in-person.”
The Department of State and counties are preparing to exercise every precaution to provide safe polling places for in-person voters and Pennsylvania’s dedicated poll workers.
The department has procured 6,000 precinct protection kits to augment supplies that counties have procured. Each kit contains supplies such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, equipment wipes and floor-marking tape, and will be provided to counties at no charge.
The department also is distributing $13 million in subgrants to the counties from two federal appropriations made this year, which they can use for a variety of election administration expenditures including increased staffing, equipment and supplies to protect against COVID-19.
Under Act 12 of 2020, counties may consolidate polling places to address the loss of polling places such as senior centers that are closed due to the coronavirus emergency. This consolidation may result in a reduction of as much as 60 percent, and counties may seek an exception from the department to exceed that reduction threshold. Polling place consolidations may reduce the number of poll workers needed overall. Counties must notify voters of polling place changes, and may do so in a variety of ways.
Although Pennsylvania schools remain closed during the COVID-19 emergency, use of schools as polling places is permitted under the Governor’s closure order and is also required by law.
The voter registration deadline for the June 2 primary is May 18. To register, visit register.votesPA.com.