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2020 News

COVID-19 Precautions for Bensalem Special Election Announced

March 16, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Larry R. King, 215.348.6413, lrking@buckscounty.org

The Bucks County Board of Elections has announced precautions it is taking to help prevent the spread of coronavirus during Tuesday’s special legislative election in Bensalem.

The election is being held to fill the 18th District seat of former Republican State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, who took office in January as a Bucks County commissioner after being elected to that position in November.

Vying to replace DiGirolamo for the remainder of his unexpired term are Democrat Harold Hayes and Republican Kathleen Tomlinson.

Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. The special election involves 27 of the county’s 304 voting districts, and is open to 39,942 Bensalem voters who are registered in those districts.

The special election will be the first public use of the county’s new Clear Ballot voting system, in which most voters hand-mark paper ballots that are then scanned into machines that record the votes. Clear Ballot flyer pic

The only commonly-touched surfaces in this system are ballpoint pens and tabletops used in the marking process. Voters who are unable to hand-mark their own ballots will have special ADA voting machines available to assist them.

In light of precautions being taken throughout Pennsylvania to prevent and limit the potential spread of coronavirus, the Board of Elections has:

  • Obtained sufficient hand sanitizer for use at each polling place, and has ordered more for the presidential primary scheduled for April 28 in Pennsylvania.
  • Obtained sanitizing wipes to wipe down the pens that will be provided to the public for use in marking their ballots.
  • Obtained protective gloves for poll workers to use at the voting locations.
  • Allowed voters to bring their own pens to use in marking ballots, so long as they are ballpoint pens using blue or black ink. Felt-tip pens, Sharpies or gel pens are not acceptable, as they could interfere with the voting equipment.

Voters further are asked to follow recommended hygiene and social distancing measures, maintaining a six-foot distance between individuals where possible, and using available restrooms to wash hands whenever necessary or desired.

As an added precaution, the Board of Elections has cancelled further public instruction sessions for using the Clear Ballot system. Officials already have hosted seven well-attended demonstrations for the public in various locations around the county.

Please click here for more information on how the Clear Ballot system works: http://www.buckscounty.org/government/CommunityServices/BoardofElections/ClearBallot-BucksVoting

Additional, in-depth trainings for poll workers have also been conducted in advance of the special election and April primary. Remaining trainings for them have also been cancelled because of concern over coronavirus and social distancing recommendations.

Poll workers are advised to keep an eye on the county website, www.buckscounty.org , for updates and training material prior to the April primary.  

Please refer to this list of countywide polling places, which includes the Bensalem districts: http://www.buckscounty.org/government/CommunityServices/BoardofElections/PollingPlaces