Some of Pennsylvania’s major counties are handling the proposal to hold the June 2 primary election entirely by mail, to prevent possible coronavirus infections in poll workers and voters.
The top government official in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania’s second-most populous, said Monday that holding an in-person election in the midst of the crisis would be a “disaster.”
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald believes necessary to avoid the legal requirement that it opens hundreds of polling places attended by numerous poll workers. For this to happen, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has to expand an emergency declaration to allow the county to mail ballots to every registered voter.
Fitzgerald considers the presence of numerous people in the voting places to be a worrying risk.
“I’m very concerned that we can actually operate this and actually function, getting this many people to work the election and in voting places,” Fitzgerald said in an interview.
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Officials from two other heavily populated suburban Philadelphia counties, Montgomery and Chester, join the pressure on Wolf to hold this all-mail election. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is preparing for the possible approval of this idea.
According to Fitzgerald, the recommendation of keeping social distancing is crucial to check the spread of COVID-19. To ask residents to go to polling places contradicts this measure.
Wolf’s office said Monday that the governor is evaluating options to increase the percentage of voters who vote by mail, “which he believes will be important.”
Wolf´s office expressed that there are important considerations to be taken into account when changing the format of the elections. For example, ensuring that voting is accessible to the disabled and that ballots are mailed to the correct addresses.
Democrats pressed for a provision in legislation last month to require counties to send mail-in ballot applications to every voter, but it lacked support in the Republican-controlled Legislature and did not pass.