HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Nearly 450,000 mail-in and absentee ballots have already been received by county boards of election offices, according to Acting Secretary of State, Leigh Chapman.
There were over 900,000 requests for mail-in and absentee ballots up until the May 10 application deadline.
Today, Acting Secretary Chapman provided a breakdown of those requests as well as some important information ahead of Tuesday’s primary election.
Of the roughly 900,000 ballot requests, nearly 700,000 were Democrat and over 200,000 were Republican.
Half of the mail-in ballots distributed, and about 40-percent of absentee ballots, have already been returned. Which means hundreds of thousands of voters have already made their picks in this year’s prominent primary; including races for governor, Lieutenant Governor, U.S. Senate and House, state House, half of state Senate seats, as well as Republican and Democratic party committee members.
This morning, Chapman reminded those planning to vote in-person, that polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in all 67 counties. If you are voting at your polling location for the first time, Chapman says to make sure you bring proper identification, like a driver’s license.
If you’re one of the 900,000 who requested a ballot, it must be received, not postmarked, but received by your county board of elections office by 8 p.m. on election night.
Chapman says it’s extremely important to read and follow all instructions when filling out, and returning a mail ballot.
“There are two envelopes in Pennsylvania. There is the inner-secrecy envelope and the outer secrecy envelope. So, it’s critical that voters put that ballot inside the inner-secrecy envelope, and then as well as the outer-secrecy envelope,” said Chapman.
Pennsylvania is one of ten states where election officials cannot start processing mail-in and absentee ballots until Election Day. Chapman says it may take a few days to count every vote.
“It is important to note that counties cannot begin canvasing mail in ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day. That means they cannot open mail ballots, process them, and count them until that time,” said Chapman. “We ask for your patience as counties count every vote.”