Harrisburg, PA - Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today reminded Pennsylvanians to make a plan to vote and to stay safe if they will be voting at their polling place on election day.
“With the election less than one week away, voters should make a plan now for voting in person at their polling place if they have not already opted to vote by mail ballot,” said Secretary Boockvar. “I want to assure all Pennsylvanians that the commonwealth is doing everything it can to ensure that in the midst of COVID-19, voters are safe when they go to the polls.”
Voters who plan to vote at their polling place on election day should wear a face covering and follow social distancing guidelines. Voters will not be turned away if they are not wearing a face covering, but we urge all voters to wear a face covering to protect themselves, other voters and poll workers.
The Department of State is supplying counties with masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, floor marking tape for social distancing and other supplies for polling places so Pennsylvanians can safely exercise their right to vote during the COVID-19 emergency.
County election officials and poll workers will manage the health and safety protocols for polling places to ensure the safety of everyone on election day. Poll workers and county officials in polling places are required to follow the requirements of the Department of Health’s Universal Face Covering Order including wearing face coverings in the polling place and when interacting with voters in line to vote outside the polling place, unless they fit one of the exceptions included in Section 3 of the Order.
“It is essential that everyone who is headed to a polling place to vote on election day wear a mask that properly covers their nose and mouth,” Dr. Levine said. “My mask protects you and your mask protects me. Masking, washing hands, social distancing and downloading the COVID Alert PA app are essential steps to protecting yourself as you cast your ballot.”
The Department of State today updated its guidance related to poll watchers and authorized representatives to specify that poll watchers and authorized representatives must comply with the following Pennsylvania COVID-19 orders and requirements:
- Poll watchers and authorized representatives must follow the requirements of the Department of Health’s Universal Face Covering Order at all times while within the polling place and in locations where the pre-canvass and canvass of ballots is occurring, unless they fit one of the exceptions included in Section 3 of the Order.
- Any poll watcher or authorized representative refusing to wear a face covering shall be asked to leave the polling place by the Judge of Elections in that polling place and shall be asked to leave the pre-canvass or canvass meeting.
- County election officials will notify the candidate, party or political body the poll watcher or representative represents if the individual is asked to leave a polling place or a pre-canvassing or canvassing meeting, for violating masking orders or health and safety protocols. The candidate, party, or political body will have an opportunity to replace the removed watcher or representative with one wearing a face covering.
- Poll watchers and representatives must maintain social distancing practices and ensure they are at least 6 feet from others at all times.
- Poll watchers must follow county and poll worker instructions regarding health and safety protocols in the polling place.
- The guidance is available here.
“By following just a few simple steps, we can all make sure that we are keeping each other safe while exercising our constitutional rights,” Secretary Boockvar said.
For more information on voting and elections in Pennsylvania, call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit votesPA.com.
Wanda Murren, Department of State, (717) 783-1621
Nate Wardle, Department of Health, (717) 787-1783, or email@example.com
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