Mail-in ballots are still available for this year’s delayed primary election. But the election is fast approaching. It takes place in just two weeks, on June 2.
With the state, and Franklin County, in the grip of a the Coronavirus pandemic, this year’s election takes on a different face. More than 10,000 of us will be voting using the new mail-in ballot system.
There will still be enough walk-in voters to keep poll workers at the county’s 73 precincts busy, however.
Franklin County has 94,613 registered voters, but not all go to the polls at every election.
Of those, 56,712 are registered as Republicans and 23,226 are Democrats. Another 13,675 are simply lumped together in the “other” category. They include those belonging to minor parties such as the Green Party, and those who consider themselves to be independents.
The primary is traditionally when the two major parties choose candidates to send to presidential conventions every four years, and choose candidates for the Fall general election ballot.
The Franklin County election board has been mailing out absentee and mail-in ballots for several weeks and already have 4,000 back.
Local voters have until next Tuesday to apply for an absentee ballot. The clock is ticking to get those requests in, however, so voters are advised by local officials to apply online. Click here to access the application.
The Franklin County Election Board has this advice for those choosing the mail-in or absentee ballot option:
What is the deadline for applying, either online or by mail, for an absentee or mail‐in ballot?
Voters have until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26th, to apply for their ballot. Once Voter Registration receives an application, a ballot must be mailed to the voter, who then votes in the privacy of his/her own home. Ballots must be returned to Voter Registration by mail or in person. Voters are encouraged to not wait until the last minute.
What is the deadline to return a voted ballot?
A voter has until 8 p.m. on Election Day (June 2nd) to return their voted ballot to the Voter Registration Office. That office is on the first floor of the Old Courthouse on the square in Chambersburg.
To ensure a ballot arrives on time, voters are encouraged to drop it off.
Voters can also take their voted ballot to the Commissioners’ Office, 340 North Second Street in Chambersburg across from the Corpus Christi Church.
The County has mailed out over 10,000 ballots thus far, but only 4,000 voted ballots were returned as of May19 .
Can I deliver my voted ballot to my polling place on Election Day?
No. The law requires the ballot must be delivered to the County.
If I requested an absentee or mail‐in ballot, but changed my mind and now want to vote in‐person, will I be allowed to do so?
No. But you can vote a provisional ballot at the polls instead. Poll workers have lists of registered voters and their signatures. They have no way of checking to see if mail-in ballots have been returned or not. The provisional ballot gives a person who misplaced, lost, or for some reason didn’t receive their mail-in ballot a chance to vote.
Poll workers don’t count the provisional ballot.
It is returned to the County Board of Elections to research and determine if the voter is eligible to vote the ballot.
Voters asking for a ballot by mail should return their voted ballot to the County and not show up at their polling place on election day.
Is voting by mail safe in Franklin County?
Yes. Applications and ballots are processed locally in Franklin County by dedicated staff to ensure every allowable ballot is counted.
The mail‐in ballot provision is brand new this year. But the concept is not new. Absentee balloting has been around in Franklin County for many years. There has never been a report and of fraudulent activity on the county level.
The Voter Registration Office verifies each application by checking either the voter’s social security information or driver’s license information. Once returned, the voter’s signature is compared to the signature on file.
Is the new Mail‐in ballot provision popular to area voters, especially with the concerns with the COVID‐19 virus?
Yes, Franklin County has seen a huge response for the new Mail‐in ballot. As of May 17, 11,430 applications for either an absentee or mail‐in ballot had been processed.
In comparison, the County received 1,074 absentee applications for the 2016 General Primary and 3,385 for the 2016 Presidential Election. Both were record‐breaking elections for the County.
In fact, county officials think mail-in votes will surpass the grand total of the past 8 years’ worth of absentee ballots. Those years equaled 12,220.