Notice: Pennsylvania to institute mail-in balloting for the duration of the 2020 Election Cycle to offset coronavirus risks

On March 27, Governor Wolf signed Senate Bill 422, which reschedules Pennsylvania’s primary election from April 28 to June 2 due to the COVID-19 emergency. Voters have the option to vote by mail-in ballot rather than going to their polling place on election day. Mail-in ballot applications will be accepted through Tuesday, May 26, 2020. If a voter has already applied for an absentee or mail-in ballot, they do NOT need to reapply.

The onset of COVID-19 and its spread in our communities has ushered in profound changes in our daily lives. This year’s presidential and down-ballot elections are no different. In order to limit whatever impact the election might have on our residents in conjunction with the coronavirus pandemic, mail-in balloting is being instituted in Allegheny County alongside the decision to move this year’s Primary Election to June.

However, it must be noted that this is not to the exclusion of traditional voting. Polling places will remain open and residents who wish to cast their vote in the usual way will be able to do so. The option to vote by mail is strictly to offer all avenues possible to ensure both a successful election with maximum participation and containment of the spread of COVID-19.

Mail-in balloting offers a secure and convenient way to both skip the lines and avoid the Election Day uncertainties brought on by COVID-19, such as a shortage of poll workers and volunteers. Due to the shortage of poll workers and volunteers, only one physical polling site will be located in Bethel Park. The Bethel Park Community Center located at 5151 Park Ave, Bethel Park, PA 15102 will be the designated polling site for the entire Municipality.

This is a new process this year, but not a difficult one. It’s easy to apply. The application may filled online or downloaded by visiting the website https://alleghenyvotes.com/ . If you do not feel comfortable transmitting your information over the internet the form can be filled out to be mailed in to: Allegheny County Elections Division, 542 Forbes Ave., Suite 609, Pittsburgh, PA 15219-2913.

Then, in a few short weeks, your mail-in ballot will arrive. If not, you can call the Elections Division to request a new one at 412-350-4500.

Instructions will be included with your ballot once it arrives. Follow them to the letter and you will be ready to cast your vote! Be sure to mail the ballot so that it arrives prior to election day, by May 26th at the latest, to make sure it arrives on time. If, however, you miss that window, you can hand-deliver your ballot to the Elections Division up to 8:00 PM on Election Day.

Understandably, voters might be worried their vote might not get counted. Rest assured, when you request a ballot, that request is verified and kept track of every step of the way. There are multiple controls in place to ensure that every ballot mailed out and received back is counted. And because these ballots must be requested to vote by mail, persons are not receiving them who may or may not be residents, cancelling out any invitation for fraudulent activity.

Finally, the entire process is under 24/7 camera surveillance and open to observation by Party and Candidate poll watchers. In sum, there could not be a more secure and failsafe process to vote safely and conveniently in these trying times.