DeLissio urges voters to consider mail-in ballot for June 2 primary

PHILADELPHIA, May 8State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., is reminding voters about the upcoming June 2 primary election in Pennsylvania and the availability of mail-in voting.

Months before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, DeLissio stood with Gov. Tom Wolf as he signed Act 77 into law. The bipartisan, history-making voter reform bill signed Oct. 31, 2019, allowed citizens to use a no-excuse, mail-in ballot. It also moved voter registration deadlines to 15 days before election day.

After the coronavirus forced a postponement of Pennsylvania’s primary election from April 28 until June 2, the new deadlines related to voting are:

  • May 18 is the last day to register to vote.
  • May 26 is the last day to apply for a mail-in or civilian absentee ballot.
  • June 2 is the last day for county boards of elections to receive voted mail-in and civilian absentee ballots.

The polls on June 2 are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

“These were the first substantial changes to the Pennsylvania Election Code in 82 years, and the timing has proven to be incredibly important,” DeLissio said. “This pandemic and the accompanying stay-at-home order means voting by mail has become a critical option for so many Pennsylvanians. I strongly urge all eligible citizens to consider this option for voting not just in next month’s primary, but in the November general election and beyond.”

Mail-in ballots are available to any qualified voter without a reason, while absentee ballots are for voters who plan to be out of their municipality of residence on Election Day or have a disability or illness.

Voters can apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot by going to www.votespa.com, or constituents can contact DeLissio’s office at 215-482-8726 and request an application to be mailed to them.

Pennsylvania is late to the game for mail-in voting, which is a type of early voting. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia offer some form of early voting. Four of these states – Oregon (2000), Washington (2011), Colorado (2013) and Hawaii (2019) – hold all elections entirely by mail.

“Increasing voter turnout is always a goal,” DeLissio said, “and having the ability to vote with via mail-in ballot in Pennsylvania is an option every citizen should consider, now more than ever.”

More than 1 million applications have been requested to date; however, only 9% of Philadelphia’s registered voters had applied as of May 7, according to information obtained during a recent meeting DeLissio attended with Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar.

“Voting is the most critical responsibility we have as citizens, and since a consolidation of polling places is expected on June 2, mail-in voting is the safest and most convenient way to carry out that task,” DeLissio said.