What You Need To Know Ahead Of Primary Day
Tuesday marks the 2020 primary, but this year’s will be a little different due to the coronavirus pandemic. In order to help you prepare, we’ve put together this checklist of things to know:
1. What to do with your ballot
The deadline to apply for a ballot was May 26, so if you didn’t apply, you missed the boat. However, if you do have a ballot and live in the vast majority of Pennsylvania counties, it should be hand-delivered to your county election office by 8 p.m. on June 2. If you live in Allegheny County, the County Administration Building is located at 542 Forbes Avenue. A list of drop off locations by county can be found here.
In addition—due to an executive order issued Monday evening by Governor Wolf—if you live in Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Montgomery, or Philadelphia counties, you also still have the option of mailing your ballot in, but it must be postmarked by June 2. Wolf extended the deadline for those counties due to the pandemic and "civil disturbances."
2. Where to vote in person
While Pennsylvania saw a surge in requests for mail-in ballots, in-person voting is still available. However, your usual polling location likely won’t be open. In order to discourage in-person voting and limit person-to-person contact, Allegheny County has consolidated its 1,323 polling locations into fewer than 150. You should have received notification in the mail about your new polling location, but you can find where to go here. Or check this list here.
3. Who's on the ballot
Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle faces progressive challenger Jerry Dickinson, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Lucy Perkins profiles the candidates here.
Challenger Aerion Abney will make his third attempt to topple Democratic incumbent state Rep. Jake Wheatley. Ariel Worthy looks at the race between the two candidates here.
One of the most contentious primaries for the state House next week pits Democratic state Rep. Summer Lee against North Braddock borough councilor Chris Roland. While Lee is an ardent progressive, Roland says he favors a more moderate approach. Their race brings long-simmering tensions within the Democratic Party to the surface. Read more from An-Li Herring here.
Republican Speaker of the House Mike Turzai will retire from the 28th state house District after nearly two decades. Three Republicans are now vying for his North Hills seat and all believe they can help guide the state through the coronavirus pandemic. Lucy Perkins has more here.
You can also check out this video of the 90.5 WESA government and accountability team answering listeners' primary questions:
4. Don't expect a nail biter of an election night
Aside from the fact that primaries historically have low voter turnout, the use of mail-in ballots will delay election results. Officials have warned that it may take days to get a final count from mail-in ballots, a scenario that is fueling worries about whether President Donald Trump will use the delay to sow doubts about the results.
This story has been updated to include the change to the mail-in ballot deadline.