Home   |   About Bucks   |   Site Map     Twitter Facebook

2020 News

Mail-In Ballot Tally Nears One-Third of Bucks Voters on Eve of Election

November 2, 2020

Contact: Larry R. King, 215-348-6413, lrking@buckscounty.org

Roughly 31 percent of Bucks County’s registered voters already have submitted their ballots through mail-in or absentee voting, according to the county Board of Elections office.

By Monday evening, 151,018 of the 199,206 mail-in or absentee ballots that have been distributed by the elections office had been returned. That number will increase through the end of Election Day as voters continue to make use of ballot drop boxes at three county office locations.

Drop boxes will be available at Doylestown, Levittown and Quakertown locations through 8 p.m. Election Day. The Board of Elections office will also be open to the public until 8 p.m. for those requesting or submitting emergency ballots.

A voter who cannot vote in person because of an emergency, such as an unexpected illness, disability or last-minute absence from the area, can obtain an Emergency Absentee Ballot. The Board of Elections Office in Doylestown will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Election Day to issue and receive any emergency absentee ballots.

A voter needing such a ballot must authorize a person to both obtain the ballot for them at the elections office and then drop it off at a drop box or the elections office by 8 p.m. An authorization form must be completed for a second party to act on behalf of a voter in this way.  

“If you’re bringing a ballot to a drop box, do it early,” said Bucks County Commissioner Bob Harvie, chair of the Board of Elections. “If you’re coming to the Board of Elections to obtain an emergency ballot, do it early as well. If you’re in line at your polling places, the law says you must be allowed to vote. However, drop boxes at government offices are not polling places, and will close at 8 p.m.”

The mail-in and absentee ballots that have been returned represent 75.7 percent of the total ballots sent out, and 30.9 percent of the county’s 488,010 registered voters.

Of those who have returned absentee or mail-in ballots, 91,474 are registered Democrats (60.6 percent), 39,139 are Republicans (25.9 percent) and 20,405 (13.5 percent) have other or no affiliations.

A record number of Pennsylvanians – more than 9 million – have registered to vote in this election. Bucks County’s registered voters have also reached record levels, with the county rolls having grown by 24,855 voters since the primary election in June.

Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for in-person voting at the county’s 304 voting precincts. Turnout is expected to be heavy, although the volume of mail-in and absentee ballots should make the lines more manageable. Anyone in line at a polling place by 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Anyone who has been notified by the Board of Elections or a political party that a problem has been detected with their mail-in ballot may cast a provisional ballot in person at the polls if they have not already corrected the problem by Election Day.

Anyone who applied for, but did not receive, their mail-in ballot by Election Day may also go to the polls and cast a provisional ballot. This means the ballot cast at the polling place is sealed and retained until county elections officials are able to verify that the voter didn’t already return a ballot. Once that is confirmed, the provisional ballot will be counted.

If a voter has received a mail-in ballot but wishes to vote in person, the voter can bring the ballot and the accompanying envelopes to the polling place and hand them to the judge of elections, who will “spoil,” or cancel the ballot, and allow you to vote in person. Voters who received mail-in ballots but do not bring them to the polling place will be allowed to cast provisional ballots.

Voters will only be required to present a photo ID at the polls if they are voting for the first time, have moved and are voting at a new polling place for the first time, or haven’t voted recently and have been notified by the county to bring ID the next time the voter goes to the polls. 

For the health and well-being of those voting in person, the county has issued safety guidelines for polling places, mandating that social distancing be maintained, face coverings be worn and protective measures be taken to limit any spread of COVID-19 at the polls. The order includes protocols for accommodating voters who do not have masks, or refuse to wear them, so that their right to vote is preserved.

All polling places will be well-stocked with hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and Plexiglas barriers to help protect voters and poll workers.

State elections officials have also mandated that poll workers, county officials and authorized observers across the state must wear face coverings in polling places and when interacting with voters in line outside. Those who flout the masking order will be removed. The state’s full guidance is available here.

Voters are encouraged to check the frequently asked questions section of the county’s 2020 General Election Portal to see if their question has already been answered before calling the Board of Elections with questions.

Learn more at www.buckscounty.org/2020election.