The delay of the Pennsylvania Primary has added more time for mail-in votes, and so far over 6,000 people in Lycoming County have applied for mail-in ballots, according to voter services.
“That is the best way for voters and poll workers to be safe,” said Forrest Lehman, director of voter services. “We want as many people as possible to vote from home.”
The applications for mail-in and absentee ballots opened on March 9. It’s the first year for no-excuse absentee voting in Pennsylvania, and what was meant to be a trial period for the new system, is now a vital element in accommodating social distancing at the polls.
The county will open all 81 precinct buildings on primary day, however, fewer people will be allowed to vote at one time and Lehman cautioned that lines will be longer and more spread out than usual.
Mail-in voting is encouraged both to decrease wait times and for the safety of the precinct workers, Lehman said.
The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot is May 26 and they must be received by voter services by 8 p.m. on June 2.
Due to the heavy amount of mail-in ballots, it is likely that full unofficial results from the primary won’t be available until June 3 or later, Lehman said. The in-person votes will be the first to be counted as mail-in ballots can’t be counted until after 8 p.m. on the day of the primary and Lehman said there likely won’t be time to count all of the results that night.
“A ballot mailed to us is just as important as a ballot cast at a precinct,” Lehman said. “Your mail-in ballot will be counted.”
May 18 is the last day to register to vote.