HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — After months of preparation, Election Day is finally here.
Nearly two and a half million Pennsylvanians have already returned their ballots by mail. That still leaves millions to vote at the polls. You can find your polling place on the state’s website.
“As always, polls are going to be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” said Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar. “If you’re in line by 8 p.m., you will be able to vote.”
When you go to a polling place, you must remember to wear a mask.
The state gave counties materials to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including masks for those who don’t have one and tape to enforce social distancing.
There will be pens, but the state is encouraging you to bring your own, to stop the spread of germs.
“Our poll workers and volunteers…we will have close to 1,100 of them for Election Day,” said Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries. “They will have personal protective equipment to wear, face shields, face masks. We will have hand sanitizer there. We will continue to clean the pens that are there.”
State leaders are stressing to be patient at the polls with the COVID precautions, and be patient about results coming in, as different counties are counting results at varying paces and many races will take several days to call.
Boockvar says her team has been working for months to make sure the voting process is safe and secure.
“Your fundamental right to vote,” said Boockvar. “You will chart our nation’s course. Be one of the decision makers. Have your say. Cast your vote.”
“You’ll go in as you normally do, sign in , and go over and fill out the scanner material, put it through the machine and it will register your vote, and we keep them in the back now too so there is a depository in the back, so every vote counted will even out with the votes that are tabulated,” said Pries.
Dauphin County officials say even with all of the mail-in ballots, they are expecting a steady stream of voters at the polls.
Here are some things to remember about mail-in ballots:
- If you didn’t already send yours by mail, you should be returning it in-person at your county election office or drop box.
- If you got requested one but never received it, the state says vote as normal at the polls.
- If you requested one and changed your mind and want to now vote in person – you have to bring that mail-in ballot to your polling place so it gets voided.
If you planned to vote at the polls but must quarantine due to COVID, contact your county for an emergency absentee ballot.
In Dauphin County the highest voter turnout was in 2008, when President Obama first ran. That was 72%.
The second highest was in the last election, which was 70%.
County officials are anticipating voter turnout to be in the 70 percentile range for this election.
The county received more than 65,000 mail in ballot applications and has gotten more than 50,000 back so far.
Dauphin County workers will start pre-canvassing ballots right at 7 a.m. and are hoping to have results finalized by election night.
The state is waiting on about 500,000 mail-in ballots.
Across Pennsylvania, there have been almost triple the number of Democrats who have returned their mail in ballots than Republicans, so many counties are expecting to see more Republicans voters in-person at the polls Tuesday.
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