Gov. Tom Wolf issued an executive order to give election offices in Philadelphia and five other counties an extra week to receive mail-in ballots for the Pennsylvania primary election, the Wolf administration announced in a press release on Monday afternoon.
Under the new guidelines, mail-in ballots must be postmarked no later than June 2 and received by Philadelphia election offices by 5 p.m. on June 9. The deadline for Philadelphians to hand-deliver absentee or mail-in ballots to election day drop-off offices remains 8 p.m. on June 2.
Wolf signed the order to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic and recent “civil unrest” from impacting the ability of voters to participate in the primary election, according to the press release. “Civil unrest” refers to the protests that Philadelphians have held against police brutality over the past three days, which have resulted in Mayor Jim Kenney issuing mandatory citywide curfews, The Temple News reported.
“Curfews, travel restrictions and other unforeseen circumstances have made returning ballots more difficult in these counties,” Wolf said in the release. “The extension will help to ensure that voters in those counties are not disenfranchised through no fault of their own.”
The order will also apply to Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie and Montgomery counties, included in the disaster emergency declaration Wolf signed on Saturday in response to protests against police brutality escalating across the state.
The Pennsylvania primary was originally scheduled for April 28 but was moved to June 2 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Temple News reported.