PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Tuesday is primary election day in Pennsylvania.
And it comes in the middle of a pandemic and social unrest in many communities.
So this election will be unlike most others.
It was supposed to be five weeks ago, and then coronavirus postponed the election and a new mail-in ballot system for all voters became very popular.
“This election will be remembered for mail-in voting from home, for wearing face masks at the polls, for paper ballots and for civil unrest,” state Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said on Monday. “Plain and simple, this is unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes.”
More than 1.1 million mail-in ballots have been returned.
It’s now too late to put a ballot in the mail, so what should you do?
“Return your ballot in person as soon as possible,” says Boockvar.
But don’t take your mail-in ballot to the polls. Instead, take it to your county’s designated location by 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
Gov. Tom Wolf said Monday that he is ordering Allegheny County to keep counting ballots that arrive by mail for up to seven days.
Louise Bradley of McCandless says her mail-in ballot never arrived.
“Never missed an election since I was 18, 48 years ago,” Bradley told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
Bradley said the county elections department sent her more applications in response to her request for a ballot.
With upcoming surgery, she’s not allowed to go out in public. But for others who did not get their mail-in ballots, Boockvar advises, “You can still vote by provisional ballot at your polling place on Election Day.”
For those voting in person, remember your poll location may be changed.
Polls are supposed to be sanitized, and all voters should, says Boockvar, “wear a mask, wash your hands before and after voting, and if you wish you can bring your own black or blue ink pen.”
Election officials also warn a delay in reporting results Tuesday night because, by law, they cannot start counting all the mail-in ballots until 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.
There are two contested statewide races on the ballot and 19 other contests in this region.
So far, officials do not expect any illegal disruptions at the polls, but they have been working with law enforcement, just in case.
Polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and closed at 8 p.m.