State and local officials urging people to use mail-in voting for primary election

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HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) State and local officials are urging Pennsylvanians to use mail-in voting for the June 2nd primary election because of COVID-19 concerns.

These concerns have already led to moving up the primary election from April to June, and there may be more changes on the way.

There’s been some discussions in Harrisburg about possibly holding an all mail-in election. Regardless, state and local officials are urging people to vote by mail.

Luzerne County election officials tell us they are also planning on possibly changing polling places to help keep the public safe.

Dave Pedri, the Luzerne County Manager told us “There are just too many unknowns out there. When I can say we are just going back to business as usual.”

He and other area county officials are urging people to vote by mail.

He says “We are sending out an application for mail-in ballots to every single Republican and Democrat in Luzerne County who haven’t already asked for an application for a mail-in ballot.”
Pedri tells Eyewitness News they are also working on plans to consolidate polling places because of COVID-19 concerns.

“You still will have the option to vote in person but what we are hoping to do is consolidate a lot of our polling places from 150 locations, some of them are very small, the number of locations to a smaller number of locations spread out among the county in larger buildings with good ventilation, good parking, and the ability for people to spread out,” says Pedri.

State lawmakers passed legislation last year that allowed for mail-in voting starting in this year’s primary. In prior elections people could vote by absentee ballots.—Now absentee ballots and mail-in applications are adding up to large numbers.

Senator John Yudichak says “Just look at the numbers, last year we had about 80,000 for mail-in voting this year we have over 600,000 mail-in voting applications already.”

Pedri also tells us that they are having some challenges getting poll workers because many of them are over the age of 65, and are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

You can learn more about mail-in voting by Clicking Here.

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