Department of State discusses election preparedness five days before general election

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HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Governor Tom Wolf joined Department of State Secretary Kathy Boockvar to provide an update on the general election, as it is only five days away.

In the Department of State’s Thursday news conference, the administration discussed the state’s preparedness for November 3rd.

Wolf discussed the changes to this election that surround the pandemic. According to the Department of State, Pennsylvania has seen a record number of registered voters for this election with nine million registered. Three million voters have signed up to vote by mail and 2.1 million voters have had mail-in ballots uploaded, as of Thursday morning.

This election will also be the first where those voting by provisional ballot will use the state’s new voting system. The new systems are in every county and include a paper trail. The Wolf administration worked with counties to replace outdated voting machines and the governor said a lot of improvements were made since the last presidential election.

Other improvements voters will see at the polls are directly aimed at public health safety. Wolf said Thursday that every county has received PPE, including masks, sneeze guards and hand sanitizer. The governor also advised those casting a ballot in person to bring their own blue or black pen.

Wolf also predicted shorter lines at the polls on November 3rd because of the 2.1 million mail-in ballots that have been delivered and cast.

“All votes will be counted; we will have accurate results even if it takes longer than normal,” Governor Wolf said.

As for Pennsylvanians who have yet to receive their mail-in ballot, the Wolf administration said over 99 percent of mail-in ballots have been sent out. Nonetheless, some counties have experienced mail delays. Secretary Boockvar spoke to USPS regarding the delays.

The secretary encouraged those who have not yet received their ballot to go to the county election office and get a replacement ballot. But if you don’t get your mail-in ballot on time, you can vote by provisional ballot in person 

“Make a plan today to vote, do not wait, the best way to ensure your vote is counted and your voice is heard is to get that vote in,” Secretary Boockvar said.

Secretary Boockvar discussed counties canvassing ballots on election night and when results can be expected. The secretary said about five counties have spoken with the department about beginning to canvas on Wednesday due to a lack of resources. Boockvar said she will encourage those counties to find the resources to begin the canvas on election night and that the votes will be counted in the timeliest fashion possible.

The administration discussed post-election unrest that could potentially unfold. Secretary Boockvar said they have been in partnership with PEMA leading comprehensive effort to diffuse any tensions that may arise. The department has been working with PEMA, state police and the National Guard to track protests and unrest or anything that will trigger incidents.

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