Voting at a Polling Place during COVID-19
There will be polling places open in every PA county on June 2, 2020, from 7 am - 8 pm. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, some polling places may be consolidated or relocated for the June 2 primary election only. Counties are required to notify voters of polling place changes, and may do so in a variety of ways. Contact your county election office if you have questions.
The bipartisan Act 12 of 2020 granted counties emergency relief to consolidate polling locations due to COVID-19 for the 2020 primary election only. This means that two or more precincts may share the same building. The Department has given guidance to counties that local election boards may be combined in order to operate with a reduced number of poll workers. However, polling places must still have a balance of parties serving as minority and majority inspectors, a designated judge of elections, and sufficient staffing to effectively and fairly administer the election.
Recommendations for Voters
If you are planning to vote in person on election day, please follow these steps to help ensure a safe and orderly voting experience for everyone:
Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth. This can be a cloth mask or scarf, like you would wear in a grocery store.
- We strongly encourage voters to wear masks out of respect for their fellow voters and for the dedicated poll workers staffing the polling places. Voters who are not wearing a mask will not be denied their right to vote.
Bring your own blue- or black-ink pen to mark your ballot and limit your exposure to shared surfaces.
Practice good hand hygiene. You may want to bring hand sanitizer with you, if you have it, for your personal use.
Maintain social distance from poll workers and other voters. This means staying about 6 feet apart from other people while you are waiting in line, checking in and voting.
Follow instructions from poll workers and other election officials. They are there to help things run smoothly.
Be patient. This will be a new experience for everyone involved. You can help by being patient and understanding while you exercise your right to vote.
Mail-in and absentee ballots must be received by the county election office by 8 pm, June 2.
Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order extending the deadline for county election offices in Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties to receive absentee or mail-in ballots by mail until 5 p.m. June 9, 2020. The ballot must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, June 2, 2020. The deadline to hand deliver absentee or mail-in ballots remains 8 p.m. June 2, 2020. All other counties must receive mail-in or absentee ballots before 8 p.m. June 2, 2020.
Read more about Governor Wolf's Executive Order
Guidelines for Counties
Polling locations should follow the social distancing and disinfecting guidelines in effect during the pandemic. The Department will provide polling place protection kits to counties prior to the primary, which include supplies such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and other cleaning sanitizers, as well as tape to mark the floor for distance markers.
Examples of steps counties may take to protect voters:
- Provide election officials with gloves, masks or other personal protective equipment.
- Place sneeze guards or other physical barriers between poll workers and voters at the check-in table.
- Designate work areas for poll workers following the 6 feet rule and encourage poll workers to follow proper hand hygiene.
- Designate spaces for voters to stand while waiting to check-in, while waiting for an available voting station, and while waiting to scan their ballot. This can be done using signs, traffic cones, marking with tape and having instructions posted at the polling place.
- Place hand sanitizer dispensers at the polling place entrance and exit for voters to use.
The Department of State
provided guidance to counties about elections during COVID-19. The guidance clarifies the provisions of Act 12 of 2020, and provides recommendations from health experts in order to protect public health while providing access to voting.
Voting systems can vary from county to county, and many counties upgraded their voting systems in 2019. Learn about your county's voting system so you know what to expect before you arrive.
What if I have a problem?
- If you need help voting or if you cannot use the voting system because of a disability, ask the poll workers about
accessible voting options.
- If your name is not in the voter roster, you may have the right to
vote on a provisional ballot. Your vote will count if election officials determine that you are eligible to vote.