Bucks County officials say voters will be required to wear masks at polling places

Jim Melwert
May 28, 2020 - 4:21 pm

UPDATED: 10 p.m. 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  Bucks County elections officials say they’ve processed 100,000 mail-in ballots and are still working on getting them mailed out. County officials are also reminding everyone who plans on voting in person they will be required to wear a mask.

Bucks County Chief Clerk Gail Humphrey said in 2016, the county processed 6,000 mail-in ballots.Tuesday was the deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot, and the county received approximately 3,000 applications that day.

She said some of those voters might not get their ballot until Monday, which would be too late to mail back.

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The county has drop-boxes at the county government buildings in Doylestown, Levittown, and Quakertown, available Saturday through Monday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

As for masks for in-person voting, Bucks County Health Department director David Damsker said he understands some people don’t like wearing them, “but they’re also mandatory for this election. We have to protect the people working at these polls.”

Humphrey said they will have masks available at polling places, and while no one will be refused the right to vote, they will either have to wait until the polling place is clear or will be given a provisional ballot.

“They’ll be handed an envelope they can kind of fill it out on their own and that will kind of tighten down on their interactions with other folks,” he explained. 

Commissioner Diane Marseglia said she doesn’t think voters would refuse to wear masks.

“There are usually people who are pretty supportive of their communities and they understand the importance of voting and I cannot believe they would ever put their neighbors at risk,” she said.

Republican County Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo hopes voters will listen.

“It’s the right thing to do, it’s the American thing to do,” DiGirolamo said.

Bucks County has filed an emergency petition asking a county judge to extend the deadline for mail-in ballots.

County officials say because of COVID-19, requests for mail-in ballots far exceeded their expectations with just shy of 100,000.

Despite workers from several departments working 12-hour days, the county said they won’t finish processing requests until Friday. 

They’re asking the deadline be extended at the latest until June 9, but only for returned ballots that are postmarked by June 1. 

Montgomery County was unsuccessful with a similar request that’s now being appealed in Commonwealth Court.