PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Election Day is just 14 weeks from today.
And this election could be another logistical challenge in the midst of a pandemic.
It all happened at once in the primary — new voting machines, first-time voting by mail for everyone, and then a pandemic reducing neighborhood polling places. It was a challenge, but the state’s top election official says officials now know what to expect.
“We’ve learned a lot,” Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.
Boockvar predicts a lot of voters this fall.
WATCH: More With Pa. Secretary Of State Kathy Boockvar
“About 50 percent are going to vote by mail and about 50 percent are going to vote in person,” Boockvar said.
Voters can still expect multiple applications to vote by mail, and it’s not a mistake, says Boockvar.
“The parties are sending them out, third-party organizations are sending them out,” Boockvar said. “Candidates are sending them out because it’s perfectly legal for anybody to mail applications.”
But only one returned application will get a ballot.
“You can mail in 20 applications. You’re only going to get one valid ballot sent to you,” says Boockvar.
The state is also working on new technology to block multiple applications. You can also apply now for a November ballot, but when you get that ballot is up to the counties.
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“We’re hoping that everybody can get their ballots starting in mid-September, 50 days before Election Day,” Boockvar said.
The earlier you vote, says Boockvar, the more likely the post office will deliver the ballot on time.
Of course, you will be able to vote in person at your neighborhood polling place with whatever coronavirus rules are in effect.
“All those same precautions will also be in place for November,” said Boockvar.
To get the results on election night and not two weeks later, officials say the state Legislature must allow the processing of mail ballots to begin sooner, like taking them out of envelopes.
“We’re advocating for three weeks. That’s what we are asking the Legislature to do,” says Boockvar, noting that not all counties need to start processing three weeks before the election.
Mail-in ballots would still not be counted until Election Day, but the headstart means voters should know who won Pennsylvania much sooner.