Pennsylvania House takes initial vote to move primary

Tony Romeo
March 24, 2020 - 7:34 pm

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — The Pennsylvania House gave initial approval to legislation that will move the primary election to June 2 due to the coronavirus crisis. 

Just before the state House voted to amend a bill with language moving the primary, Philadelphia Democrat Rep. Kevin Boyle took to the House floor to encourage members to vote “yes,” noting that one-fifth of Philadelphia voters are seniors, who are most at risk of coronavirus.

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“Poll workers — often senior citizens themselves — are at no less risk. Polling places are also disproportionately at senior centers, nursing homes or schools. Pennsylvania must be realistic regarding the impact of the virus on the April 28 election,” he said.

In addition to moving the primary, the House-approved amendment would also give counties flexibility to relocate or consolidate polling places. Counties would also now be allowed to begin counting absentee and mail-in ballots at 7 a.m. on Election Day — instead of having to wait until polls close to begin counting — to avoid potential delays in the results.

“I think we all as Pennsylvanians and Americans … we should be able to agree that we want the winner to be known in a timely manner,” said Boyle.

Final votes are expected in the state House and Senate on Wednesday.