East Falls NOW Article: The ABC’s of Voting in a Pandemic

Voting should be easier in this pandemic – but act now!

Our lives have been overshadowed since March by COVID-19.  The pandemic has impacted how we live, work and play -- and how we vote.

In the June primary the city’s polling places were consolidated due to a shortage of poll workers and a lack of available locations.  For example, firehouses were not an option, and neither were senior living facilities.

But for the primary election “no excuse” mail-in ballots were available for the first time in Pennsylvania.  It was beyond fortuitous that their use was proposed and signed into law in October 2019, well before we knew of COVID 19.

Because much information is being shared that is less than accurate, please make sure you know and are confident that your source of the information regarding voting is reliable.

As always, on Nov. 3 you will be able to vote at the polls.

The city will finalize polling locations no later than 20 days before election day.  Those locations will depend on the number of poll workers available to staff the polls and the number of locations that can be secured to host the polls.  

If you want to be a poll worker, it is a paid position.  Please email pollworkers@phila.gov or call 215-685-4811.

You also can vote by mail.   It’s easy.  Visit votespa.com/applymailballot.  If you applied for the primary and want to verify whether you automatically will receive a mail-in ballot for the general election, visit votespa.com/mailballotstatus.

You also can apply for a mail-in ballot using a paper application.  Call my office and we will mail you one or you can stop by at 6511 Ridge Ave. and we will give you one.

You also can track the progress of your application by checking votespa.com/mailballotstatus.  If you don’t have access to a computer, call my office and we will look up your status for you.

I will be voting, as I did in the primary, via mail-in ballot.  I applied online and received an email confirmation at every step of the process – when I applied, when my ballot was mailed to me from the City Commissioners, and again when the City Commissioners received my executed ballot.  I mailed my ballot directly at the post office.

At East Falls NOW press time, the use of drop boxes is permissible. The location of these drop boxes is yet to be determined.

The City Commissioners intend to operate satellite offices, the nearest one is Roxborough High School located at 6498 Ridge Avenue. The Roxborough High School satellite office opened on September 29, is open 7 days a week and will provide voter services until Election Day. You can register to vote, apply for a mail-in ballot, vote that ballot and return your ballot – all in one stop.

Overall, voting has been made more convenient.  There is no reason not to vote.   You can vote by going to the polls on election day from 7 am until 8 pm.  You can vote via mail-in ballot.  Please apply for that ballot now if you have not already done so and return that ballot as soon as possible after receiving it in order to ensure that your vote is counted.

Mail-in ballots must be postmarked no later than 8 pm on Election Day, Nov. 3 and must be received no later than 5pm on Nov. 6.

Stay tuned, as this is an evolving situation due to possible additional lawsuits and the possibility of additional legislative initiatives by the PA General Assembly.

As always, call my office at 215-482-8726 or email me at RepDeLissio@pahouse.net with any comments, suggestions or questions.