YORK, YORK COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Governor Tom Wolf expressed the urgent need to enhance and secure the upcoming presidential election, in a news conference on Tuesday.
Wolf urged the legislature to ensure that Pennsylvanians receive mail-in ballots early and give counties more time to process and count ballots before election day.
The governor also discussed the safety protocols that will be taken at polling places which include: face shields for poll workers, hand sanitizer, floor marking tape for social distancing, plastic sneeze guards and other supplies.
“Voting during a pandemic will be different for all of us, but I remain confident that no matter how you vote – our state’s election systems are safe and secure,” said Gov. Wolf. “Counting a record number of votes may not be complete on election night, but what’s most important is that every vote is counted and the results are accurate, even if it takes more time than usual.
Governor Wolf’s recommended election improvements include:
- Allowing counties to start pre-canvassing ballots 21 days before the election day to get accurate results faster. The current law restricts counties from beginning this process until 7 a.m. on election day. The time-consuming procedure involves scanning and verifying the ballot envelope, checking the voter’s eligibility, opening the mail and secrecy envelopes, and removing and scanning the ballot. Counties would not tabulate or report vote totals until polls close at 8 p.m. on election day.
- Allowing counties to count eligible ballots postmarked by election day and received by the Friday following election day to ensure that all ballots mailed by the deadline are counted.
- Requiring counties to start sending mail-in ballots at least 28 days before the election rather than 14 days as currently required. Many counties mail ballots to voters even earlier, but this change ensures voters who apply early have at least four weeks to receive and return their ballot.
- Letting counties appoint poll workers to vacant positions earlier than five days before an election. More poll workers are still needed, and the Department of State is encouraging businesses, colleges and organizations to reach out to their county elections office and volunteer at their local precincts.
Eligible Pennsylvanians can register to vote by October 19 and apply for their mail-in or absentee ballot by October 27 online at votespa.com, in person at their county election offices or by paper forms submitted by mail.