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Safety precautions for polling places, reminder about voter intimidation laws


Harrisburg, PA – With Election Day just four days away, Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar are again urging voters to immediately hand-deliver mail ballots to their county election office, drop box, or other designated location. By returning their own ballot now, Pennsylvanians can be assured their vote will be counted.

“At this point, voters should hand-deliver their ballots to be assured their vote will be counted,” said Gov. Wolf. “We strongly urge you not to return your voted ballot in the mail with only five days left before Election Day. Do not wait. Now is the time to take your ballot to your county’s designated ballot return location and you will have peace of mind that your voice will be heard in this election.”

Voters who applied for and received a mail ballot and then decide they want to vote at the polls must bring their entire mail ballot packet with them to be voided, including both envelopes. They may then vote on their county’s voting system.

If a voter applies for a mail ballot but does not return it and no longer has the mail ballot and envelopes, they may vote by provisional ballot at the polls on Election Day. Their county board of elections will then verify that they did not vote by mail before counting their provisional ballot.

Additionally, if a voter’s absentee or mail‐in ballot is rejected for a reason other than their qualification or eligibility to vote, such as a missing signature or naked ballot, they may vote by provisional ballot.

Pennsylvania has prioritized election preparedness by implementing new, secure voting systems in every county; implementing the Interagency Election Preparedness and Security Workgroup along with local, state and federal partnerships to monitor for disruptions and coordinate responses, and providing counties with supplies to keep polling places clean and safe, for both poll workers and voters during the pandemic.

“Pennsylvania is ready for Election Day,” said Secretary Boockvar. “Voters should cast their ballots knowing that the commonwealth is doing everything it can to protect their rights while keeping them safe.”

Governor Wolf and Secretary Boockvar also reminded Pennsylvanians to make a plan for voting at their polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 3. If you plan to vote on Election Day, check your polling place location. Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on November 3. If a voter is in line at 8 p.m., they may still vote.

Voters who plan to vote at their polling place on Election Day should wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines. The Department of State is supplying counties with masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, floor marking tape for social distancing and other supplies for polling places so Pennsylvanians can safely exercise their right to vote during the COVID-19 emergency.

In addition, voters planning to vote at a polling place on Election Day should be aware of their rights. Voter intimidation and discriminatory conduct are illegal under federal and Pennsylvania law. Any activity that threatens, harasses or intimidates voters is illegal – including any activity that is intended to, or has the effect of, interfering with any voter’s right to vote, whether it occurs outside the polling place or inside the polling place.

Anyone who suspects voter intimidation or who believes they are the victim of voter intimidation should report the incident to their county board of elections and county district attorney immediately. They may also contact the Pennsylvania Department of State at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).

For more information on voting and elections in Pennsylvania, call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit votesPA.com.