Elections to send mail-in ballot application to all registered county voters
April 21, 2020
The Allegheny County Division of Elections has announced that staff is finalizing mailings to registered voters in the county containing mail-in ballot applications for the June 2 primary election. While some overlap may occur, the applications will be sent to registered voters who have not yet applied for an absentee or mail-in ballot.
“Last month it became clear that we would not be able to conduct a typical election,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “I asked the County Manager to begin exploring what it would take to be able to send mail-in ballot applications to every voter, including what supplies would be necessary for such a large undertaking. Although giving the okay to move forward with those options, I also called for an expansion of the state’s emergency declaration to allow us to send ballots. Without that authority, we’re moving forward with our plans to mail the mail-in ballot applications.”
The mailing will include the mail-in ballot application and a postage-paid, addressed envelope to return that application to the Elections office. Voters are also encouraged to apply online for the ballot which also offers an opportunity to receive email updates on the status of the application and ballot throughout the election season. Information on how to apply and links to the online application can be found at alleghenyvotes.com.
Allegheny County has 1,323 polling places which require 6,615 poll workers, five per location, to run those sites. Additional staff and resources are needed for overall election operations. The bulk of those workers are seniors who have been canceling or are expressing concerns for their own health and well-being if they work at a poll.
Additionally, polling locations like schools, churches and senior hi-rises are indicating concerns with opening their locations to the public as well. This will leave the county to find other, alternative sites that are accessible and can accommodate an election.
Over the past few months, the county has conducted a robust marketing and advertising campaign to reach as many voters as possible to make them aware of the mail-in option. A few weeks ago, the County Executive also directed Elections to step-up the targeted advertising for mail-in voting.
As of earlier today, over 71,000 absentee and mail-in applications have been received from Allegheny County voters. Over 20,000 of those applications have been processed and the first mailing of ballots is being finalized and will be sent out beginning today.
“We hope that voters will continue to seek mail-in ballots as it is the safest option for them, and for all of our residents, during this pandemic,” said Mr. Fitzgerald.