Pennsylvania mail-in ballot (Jeanette Woods for Germantown Info Hub)

All registered voters in Pennsylvanian can vote by mail in the upcoming primary. Due to the COVID-19 emergency restrictions, city and state officials, including Governor Tom Wolf, and City Commissioner Omar Sabir, are strongly encouraging all Pennsylvanians to use mail-in ballots.

You can submit an online request for a mail-in absentee ballot or “no excuse” ballot at the Vote PA website. Once your request is approved, a ballot for the June 2nd primary will be mailed back to you with a postage paid return envelope. If you cannot request a mail-in ballot online, you can request one in person at the Philadelphia County Board of Elections, Room 142, City Hall, 1400 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Requests for mail-in ballots (online or in person) must be received by the Philadelphia County Board of Elections by Monday, May 26, at 5 p.m. Completed mail-in ballots must be received by June 2 by 8p.m. You can find information on deadlines for active military at the website of the Philadelphia City Commissioners.

If your request for a mail-in ballot is not approved by May 26, you cannot vote in the June primary by mail. You will have to vote at the polls. Check the status of your mail-in ballot request here.

If you go to the polls.

While going to your local polling place is the traditional form of voting, the number of polling places has significantly decreased. Philadelphia residents will see a drastic reduction (over 75%) in polling locations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The 2020 primary will represent a tectonic shift in how Pennsylvanians vote,” David Thornburgh, President and CEO of the Committee of Seventy said in a press release. “Unprecedented numbers of voters will vote by mail. Voters who vote in person will experience longer lines. All of us will be concerned about the health risks.”

Only 190 polls will be open in Philadelphia. Germantown has four locations: Mastery Pickett Charter School at 5700 Wayne Ave.,Lingelbach School at 6340 Wayne Ave.,Lonnie Young Recreation Center at 1100 E Chelten Ave., and Happy Hollow Recreation Center at 4800 Wayne Avenue, according to The Inquirer.

You can find your polling location at PA Voter Services website. You must vote at your assigned location. Polls will open Tuesday, June 2, at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Voters may get in line before 7 a.m. to vote and anyone who is in line before 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

City Commissioner Sabir said that the plan to decrease polling place numbers due to the ongoing emergency considered social distancing requirements, and the fact that many poll workers are elderly and potentially more vulnerable to the virus and that past locations like nursing homes and fire departments, were now out of the question.

“So it’s a logistical challenge that’s going on, we had to do it, it wasn’t like our choice,” Sabir said during the G-town Radio and Germantown Info Hub call-in show. “I like voting in person, I love it. But at the end of the day, you know, these are the cards that were dealt to us.”