NEW CASTLE, Pa. (KDKA) – As the governor’s stay-at-home orders are lifted in some parts of Pennsylvania, nobody is quite sure how safe it will be for voters to vote in-person in the June 2 primary.

Some officials have raised concerns about enough masks, gloves and disinfectants for both poll workers and voters.

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While many will vote by mail this year, now available to every voter, thousands will still show up at the polls.

So how safe will those polling places be?

“Right now, the supply chain is a little bit constrained in terms of getting PPE, you know, all the PPE that is needed across the state to the places that do need it,” Lawrence County Commissioner Morgan Boyd told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Friday.

Boyd is also chairman of the county’s election board.

Some county officials say supplies of masks, gloves and wipes have been tight, but the state is helping out.

“The Department of State is actually providing 65 percent of all precincts in Lawrence County with a kit that contains all the necessary PPE to make sure that our election workers are safe and to make sure that our voters are safe,” says Boyd.


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Boyd says Lawrence County has been able to get enough PPE to open all its 75 polling places.

Three weeks ago, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar found one national supplier left.

“We actually went ahead and the supplier, thank goodness, was still able to have enough supplies to send us 6,000 kits,” Boockvar told Jon Delano.

Each kit includes 20 masks and gloves, wipes, sanitizers and signage.

The state only provide kits for 65 percent of polling places, which is why some counties like Allegheny may reduce the number of voting locations.

Delano: “Will it be safe to vote in person on June 2?”
Boockvar: “So I’m going to encourage every person to vote by mail that I possibly can, and I’m happy to say as of this morning, over 900,000 Pennsylvanians have applied for an absentee or mail-in ballot.”

Secretary Boockvar predicts that 1.5 million Pennsylvanians will vote by mail, leaving in-person voting to between 500,000 and 1 million voters.

That should significantly reduce social contact at the polls.

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You can watch KDKA’s Jon Delano’s full interview about voting in Lawrence County, as well as the county moving into the “yellow” phase May 8, on CBSN Pittsburgh.