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April 22, 2020

Pennsylvania voters encouraged to submit mail-in ballots in primary election

Elections Coronavirus
Pennsylvania primary voting Element5 Digital/via Unsplash

Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania voters are slated to submit mail-in or absentee ballots for the June 2 primary election.

Pennsylvania voters are urged to apply for mail-in ballots ahead of the state's upcoming primary election. 

Gov. Tom Wolf and Democratic and Republican leaders are pushing the method in hopes of limiting the spread of the coronavirus. The election was postponed until June 2 due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Registered voters who wish to submit a mail-in or absentee ballot can apply online with a valid Pennsylvania driver's license or a photo ID from PennDOT. They also can apply via mail or in-person at their county's election office. 

Mail-in ballots can be requested without a reason, unlike absentee ballots, which require voters to list the reason they cannot make it to the polls on Election Day. If the application is accepted, voters will receive a ballot with instructions for completing it. They must then send it to the county election office. 

The deadline to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot is 5 p.m on May 26. Mail-in and absentee ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on June 2. Pennsylvania citizens who aren’t registered to vote must do so by May 18. 

More than 462,000 residents already have applied for a mail-in ballot, according to state officials. Another 140,000 people have applied for an absentee ballot.

The Pennsylvania State Department is sending more than 4 million postcards, as well as weekly emails, to alert Pennsylvania residents to the new election date and the opportunity to vote by mail. 

In-person voting will still be available. The Wolf administration is providing funding to help counties increase staffing at polling place and purchase personal protective equipment.

The state also is distributing infection protection kits to help poll workers create a safe voting environment. The kits include masks, hand sanitizer and gloves. Counties have been given permission to consolidate polling locations. 

“There is no more important civic duty than voting, but we also want to make sure that every primary voter can cast their vote safely,” Wolf said in a statement. 

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