MERCER, Pa. (WKBN) – In-person voting is scheduled to happen in June for Pennsylvania’s primary but there will some significant changes for voters.
First, Governor Tom Wolf is encouraging everyone to vote by mail, but those who want to go out to the polls will be able to cast a ballot. Most, but not all, precincts will be open, according to election officials.
Mercer County Election Director Jeff Greenburg said local boards had some flexibility to consolidate up to 60 percent of it precincts in the event of shortfalls in workers or available locations, but county officials said they are still hopeful that won’t be necessary.
Greensburg said only 13 poll workers out of 250 representing 61 boards responded, saying they won’t be able to report to work Election Day. Others said they are waiting to see what happens with the coronavirus over the next several weeks.
“County residents should be extremely proud and appreciative of the response the county election bureau has had so far from a large number of our precinct election workers, who are ready to do their jobs for voters on June 2,” Greenburg said. “The dedication and commitment to serve their communities is remarkable.”
Building owners at 67 polling locations are ready to open their doors to voters. The county is still waiting to hear from 18 others.
Protection kits are being provided by the state free of charge to poll workers and includes sanitizer, masks, gloves and alcohol wipes.
The county will also provide Q-tips to serve as a disposable stylus for anyone who needs to use the accessible ballot marking device.
Voters will be asked to bring their own pens – black or blue ink only – and wear masks as well, but they will not be turned away if they don’t have a mask, and the county will have pens that can be cleaned between uses for voters who don’t bring their own.
For those who want to mail in a ballot, the deadline to apply is May 26 and ballots must be returned to the election office by 8 p.m. June 2.
Paper forms are available at all local post offices and municipal buildings or by calling the election bureau. The easiest and most convenient way to do this, however, is electronically at: https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/OnlineAbsenteeApplication/#/OnlineAbsenteeBegin or a paper version that can be printed out if preferred can be found at https://www.votespa.com/Voting-in-PA/Pages/Mail-and-Absentee-Ballot.aspx and should be returned to the Mercer County Bureau of Elections, 5 Courthouse, Mercer, Pa., 16137.
Voters with questions can call (724) 662-7542.