As the primary approaches voters must return mail-in ballots, check their polling place ensure their voices are heard
PHILADELPHIA – All Voting is Local Pennsylvania today announced a campaign to urge Philadelphia voters to return their mail in ballots by the June 2 primary election deadline and alert them to massive polling place changes throughout the city. This week of action includes a virtual town hall on Thursday where voting rights advocates and state officials will encourage voters to use the various options at their disposal to exercise their right to vote.
In early May, the Philadelphia City Commissioners reduced the number of polling places from the 831 used in last November’s election to 190. These changes will impact the approximately 1 million voters in Philadelphia, leading to long lines and transportation hurdles which disproportionately affect older voters, voters with disabilities, low income voters, and voters of color.
“With just a few days left before the election, state and local officials must do more to reach voters directly so that they can vote and have their vote counted,” said Scott Seeborg, Pennsylvania State Direct for All Voting is Local. “Voters deserve to have the latest information so that they can cast a ballot without problems. These changes are a massive inconvenience during a time when simply getting around is already difficult. Philadelphia’s transportation systems are currently operating on a reduced schedule due to stay at home orders. We will do our part to reach voters to make sure that these changes aren’t a barrier come June 2.”
For the first time, Pennsylvania voters can cast a ballot by mail without an excuse. This marks among the biggest election reforms in the Commonwealth in nearly a century, but many voters may be unfamiliar with the process. According to figures from the state, 217,000 mail-in ballots have been requested by Philadelphia voters to-date, compared to only 6,364 in the 2016 primary. That is only approximately 20 percent of registered Philly voters across all parties to have requested a vote-by-mail ballot.
To minimize voter confusion and avoid potential disenfranchisement, All Voting is Local will contact as many voters as possible during the week leading up to the primary by holding events including:
Thursday, May 28 – 7:30 – 8 p.m. ET: TeleTown Hall
Host: Charles Ellison, executive producer and host of WURD’s Reality Check
- Scott Seeborg, Pennsylvania state director, All Voting is Local
- Jessica Walls-Lavelle, special advisor to the chief of state and director, Office of Governor Tom Wolf
- Steve Latanishen, director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Pennsylvania Department of State
Media Line: (540) 409-4375; Ext. 61509#
- Friday, May 22: In partnership with Streets Dept and Anton Moore, executive director of Unity in the Community, All Voting is Local will deploy 5,000 vote-by-mail and Election Day posters in low vote-by-mail request rate neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
- Thursday, May 28: Philadelphia native celebrities Freeway, Roc Nation recording artist; DJ Diamond Cutz, and DJ Touchtone will produce videos to encourage voters to return mail in ballots and check polling places.
- Friday, May 29 – Monday, June 1: 40 Vote Squad Fellows, a group of community advocates protected by PPE gear, will hold discussions with residents of predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods about returning their mail in ballots to city drop boxes, share information about in-person polling place locations, and share stories about voters’ experiences this election.
- Wednesday, May 27 – Tuesday, June 2: All Voting is Local will launch digital ads directing voters to look up new polling place locations for the primary at votespa.com.
Voters can look up their polling location for the June 2 election at the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website.