10:33 PM - June 2, 2020
10:33 PM - June 2, 2020

Pa. held an election. We won’t know the results for days. Here’s what that means for November.

Get ready for a long wait.

Pennsylvania held its primary election Tuesday, but only a fraction of the votes had been tallied Tuesday night. It will take take days to count them all. So it could be a while before you know if your candidate won.

That’s not because of fraud, or election rigging, or anything of the sort. It’s the direct result of legal changes designed to make voting more flexible and accessible, along with a coronavirus pandemic that greatly accelerated the adoption of voting by mail.

It’s also a huge change for voters who have grown accustomed to winners being “called” by news outlets on election night, with displays of concession speeches and victory parties from candidates. And while a lack of actual election results won’t bother many voters with so few competitive races on the ballot attracting wide interest, imagine the same lack of certainty the night of Nov. 3: If changes aren’t made between now and then, elections officials across the state say, the world could be left watching Pennsylvania, a critical swing state, count ballot after ballot long after polls have closed.

“It’s pretty wild, isn’t it?" said Delaware County Councilmember Christine Reuther, who works on elections issues for the county. “People are going to have to wait for results. … It’s not going to be as satisfying for a lot of people, let’s just leave it at that.”

— Jonathan Lai

10:05 PM - June 2, 2020
10:05 PM - June 2, 2020

Voters undeterred by coronavirus and inspired by protests turn out for the primary

In long and short lines, near boarded up stores, and in polling places within earshot of chanting protesters, Pennsylvanians came out Tuesday to cast their votes in the unprecedented midst of a deadly pandemic and the greatest urban unrest in a generation.

Many said they voted as their own form of democratic expression, the importance of which felt heightened this week. Others said they were in line because their requested mail ballot never showed.

On the whole, a primary day flipped on its head — and rescheduled from April — ran largely smoothly for election officials operating with a skeletal staff and a fraction of the polling places typically open. But the success of the operations of this election — and its results — may lie in the days ahead, as officials process stacks of mail ballots, which almost 1.9 million Pennsylvanians requested.

“There was nothing that was gonna keep me from voting today, even during a pandemic and with a curfew,” said Paul Griffing, who put his ballot in a drop box near City Hall.

-Julia Terruso, Andrew Seidman, Michaelle Bond

9:40 PM - June 2, 2020
9:40 PM - June 2, 2020

Larry Krasner to progressives: Support Joe Biden ‘even if he’s not our favorite guy.’

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner urged progressives Tuesday to support Joe Biden even if he was not their preferred Democratic presidential candidate.

Speaking on a Zoom conference call with the progressive group Pennsylvania Stands Up, Krasner also seemed to allude to the days of protests: “A lot of you got me elected, so thanks again ... and frankly, given what’s going on Philly — well, let’s just say it might’ve been the right time, because we got some trouble,” he said.

“We cannot allow progressive to walk away from the polls, to walk away from politics in disgust,” Krasner said.

“This primary I think was tough for a lot of people because as progressives a lot of us felt very strongly about who we wanted to be the candidate, and Joe Biden’s not that guy. But that does not change the fact that we have a nightmare in the White House. It does not change the fact that Joe Biden will have a vice president who may play a very, very important role in the administration and also possibly in the next election,” Krasner said. “It is of paramount importance for the things that we believe in that this guy get elected — even if he’s not our favorite guy.”

On the same Zoom call, City Councilmember Helen Gym told the group that people must come together not just by marching, but through other work for political change.

“It is powerful for election night to be on a night in which so many people are out speaking truth to power saying that black lives matter and that we’re going to see a real transformative change in this country,” Gym said on an election night Zoom call hosted by the group. “It’s impossible not to talk about this moment and the need to fundamentally see some serious disinvestment in our policing and in institutional type of oppressive power and forces that have brought down so many communities.”

— Justine McDaniel

9:24 PM - June 2, 2020
9:24 PM - June 2, 2020

Philly-area voters on why they came out to vote in person

Voters in Philadelphia went to the polls today with current events at the forefront of their decision.

“Today I think with everything that we’ve been watching on the news, I think it’s even way more important to rock our vote and at least try and be heard,” said Maarten Olaya of Kensington.

Expressing uncertainty about whether his vote would make an impact, Matthew Coulter decided to show up anyway. “There is absolutely no room for complacency anymore," said Coulter, who voted at the Lucien E. Blackwell Library on 52nd Street in West Philadelphia, near the site of vandalism and looting that seized the neighborhood on Sunday.

On the border of the city in Cheltenham, Jessica Martz said voting is one way to elect people who represent the what she cares about. “It always feels important to me to vote, but now more than ever," said Martz.

-Astrid Rodrigues

7:10 PM - June 2, 2020
7:10 PM - June 2, 2020

President Donald Trump and Joe Biden (unsurprisingly) win Pa. primaries

President Donald Trump and Joe Biden were both declared winners of their respective party primaries in Pennsylvania, unsurprising results called by the Associated Press shortly after polls closed.

Trump has faced no serious opposition from Republican challengers.

Biden, the former vice president, is the only Democrat still actively campaigning and has been the party’s presumptive nominee for months.

Still, victories in Pennsylvania and elsewhere on the busiest day of voting since the onset of the coronavirus moved Biden closer to officially clinching the nomination.

He visited Philadelphia earlier in the day to deliver a major speech challenging Trump’s leadership during the mounting crises facing the country, and pledging racial reconciliation, in contrast to the president’s law and order approach.

Jonathan Tamari

7:10 PM - June 2, 2020
7:10 PM - June 2, 2020

Philly polling locations got the wrong voting machines, causing confusion and long lines: 'It was a mess’

Dozens of voters line up outside Masjidullah in Philadelphia's East Mount Airy section Tuesday. There were fewer polling locations across the city due to the coronavirus pandemic.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Dozens of voters line up outside Masjidullah in Philadelphia's East Mount Airy section Tuesday. There were fewer polling locations across the city due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Voting in Philadelphia’s busy 50th Ward started off messy Tuesday when polling locations were delivered machines meant for neighboring poll places.

The problem was corrected by late morning, city officials said, though the wait to vote in parts of the busy ward was still about 90 minutes by early evening.

The ward in Northwest Philadelphia is one of the highest turnout locations in the city, and lines started forming around the block at polling places like the Masjidullah Temple early in the morning. Several divisions had already been consolidated into polling locations, making the crowds larger.

Councilmember Cherelle Parker, who is also ward leader in the area, said multiple polling locations were delivered the wrong machines.

“They were all at the wrong locations. It was a mess,” Parker said.

The office of the Philadelphia City Commissioners, who oversee elections, confirmed a mix-up had occurred with polling places receiving the wrong voting machines, including at the mosque. Voters used paper emergency ballots before the correct machines were set up.

— Michaelle Bond, Julia Terruso and Justine McDaniel

5:54 PM - June 2, 2020
5:54 PM - June 2, 2020

Courts extend Pa. mail ballot deadlines in Bucks and Delaware Counties

Absentee ballot applications in both Spanish and English, along with fliers, sit next to food boxes distributed by the city, school district, and non-profit groups at 401 Domino Lane in Roxborough May 16.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Absentee ballot applications in both Spanish and English, along with fliers, sit next to food boxes distributed by the city, school district, and non-profit groups at 401 Domino Lane in Roxborough May 16.

The mail ballot deadline is being loosened for voters in Bucks and Delaware Counties, judges ordered Tuesday.

Bucks County voters whose ballots were postmarked by Monday, June 1 will have their votes counted as long as county elections officials receive them by next Tuesday, June 9, county spokesperson Larry King said.

He quoted Common Pleas Court Judge James McMaster as saying it is within his power to enforce the intent of the law and that “the clear intent of the election code is to allow people to vote.”

An order was still being written late Tuesday afternoon and was expected to be available Wednesday.

Delaware County voters will have their ballots counted if they are postmarked by Tuesday, June 2, and arrive by 5 p.m. next Tuesday.

In addition, Delaware County elections officials will send out ballots to the final 400 to 500 voters whose ballots they never mailed. Officials had previously said those ballots couldn’t arrive in time, so they wouldn’t be sent.

Those ballots will be counted if they are returned to the county by 5 p.m. on June 12 — regardless of when they are mailed and postmarked.

Elections officials in both counties had petitioned their respective Courts of Common Pleas to extend mail ballot deadlines that they said would disenfranchise voters who received ballots too late to return them by 8 p.m. election day, as state law requires. Elections officials have warned that thousands of voters could be disenfranchised, despite their efforts to set up drop boxes at the last minute.

— Jonathan Lai

5:07 PM - June 2, 2020
5:07 PM - June 2, 2020

Biden fans and the Pa. Democratic establishment are taking a quiet victory lap: ‘He’s the guy to beat Trump’

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks in Philadelphia Tuesday.
AP
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks in Philadelphia Tuesday.

When David Bradford hosted a Joe Biden debate watch party in his Philadelphia apartment in October, only one person showed up. Biden’s early lead in the polls was slipping, and pundits were pointing to the lack of enthusiasm for his campaign as a sign it was doomed.

Eight months later, Biden is all but assured to win the Pennsylvania primary Tuesday, along with primaries in six other states and the District of Columbia. (Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in April but remains on the ballot.) That will put Biden close to formally clinching the nomination.

In Pennsylvania, where Biden is something of a favorite son, with roots in Scranton and a home nearby in Wilmington, the army of establishment Democrats who long backed him and fans who liked him from the get-go are celebrating — briefly, socially distanced, and with eyes toward defeating President Donald Trump in November.

“I’m excited,” Bradford said last week. “I was amazed then how few people in his own backyard were showing up for him. That feels like a whole different time now. He’s the guy to beat Trump.”

“I’m not an ‘I told you so’ person,” U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans said with a laugh. “I think there was always enthusiasm from the beginning, and I know that was a constant issue people kept raising, but look — I came out for him on Day One because I thought it’s what America needed, and I still do.”

4:49 PM - June 2, 2020
4:49 PM - June 2, 2020

Voters wait in East Falls after machines break

A busy polling place Tuesday in Philadelphia, at the Falls of Schuykill branch of the Free Library, in East Falls.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
A busy polling place Tuesday in Philadelphia, at the Falls of Schuykill branch of the Free Library, in East Falls.

Voting machines broke Tuesday afternoon at the Falls of Schuylkill Library, delaying voters as city staffers drove out to repair the machines.

Shortly before 4 p.m., dozens of voters were calmly waiting, with the socially-distanced line stretching around the block. A voter at the front of the line said she had been waiting about 45 minutes, reading a book she had brought with her.

Like other polling places, the East Falls branch of the Free Library system combined multiple precincts in one location this year, and Bronda Conwell, 37, said she had planned to wait.

“I figured that if you’re merging all these polling places together, this was the way it was going to be,” said Conwell, a social worker.

— Justine McDaniel and Alejandro Alvarez

4:31 PM - June 2, 2020
4:31 PM - June 2, 2020

A Sanders supporter in West Philly on Biden: ‘I’m not not going to vote’

There was about a 30 minute wait in West Philly’s polling location at 48th and Woodland.

A team of volunteers for Rick Krajewski, one of three people challenging longtime incumbent Jim Roebuck in the district, handed out water bottles and masks to anyone who needed them. Meg McCauley, 24, had come out to vote for Krajewski and for Bernie Sanders, who supported him.

“He’s been really active in my neighborhood and really effectively communicating about how our neighborhood could be better taken care of,” she said of Krajewski.

McCauley, a baker, said that on the presidential ticket, Sanders was the only candidate who stood for what she believed in. Asked if she’ll support Biden in November she shrugged and sighed: “Yeah. I’m not not going to vote.”

Amelia Mitchell’s polling place is usually much closer, but she said she didn’t mind walking because she wanted to vote in person to ensure “everything goes through correctly.”

“I’m 66 and I got a mask I got my sanitizer and I just came from the market a little time ago, so I feel fine,” she said.

The 30 minute line wasn’t something everyone was thrilled with, though.

“I’ve got a tee time,” said Kerry Dowd. He said he applied for a mail-in ballot three weeks ago but it never came. So he showed up to vote in person for Krajewski.

“I need a change. I think we need a change from the bottom to the top,” he said.

He called Biden “a good soldier.”

“I think he can stabilize some of the things going on," he said. "I think everybody likes to see things turned upside down but when they get turned upside down, they’re realize, ‘This isn’t great.’ It’s time to get back to what we were, which is a country that was respected around the world.”

— Julia Terruso

3:43 PM - June 2, 2020
3:43 PM - June 2, 2020

Officials work to restock supplies as voters show up to polls after not receiving mail ballots,

Election officials in Montgomery and Delaware Counties were working to keep provisional ballots in stock Tuesday for voters who had not received mail ballots.

"We are trying to get additional materials there. But yes, some places are low,” said Delaware County Councilmember Christine Reuther.

Normally, very few votes are cast on provisional ballots, which are used when there is a concern about whether someone is eligible to vote at a location. The paper ballots are set aside and only counted once county elections officials determine the vote is legitimately cast.

But they have been in particularly high demand this year because of problems with mail ballots. Delaware County elections officials in particular struggled to get mail ballots delivered to voters in time; 400 voters were never sent their ballots because officials said they would be unable to deliver them until after the election.

Montgomery County had 60,000 provisional ballots flown in Monday from its printer in Ohio in preparation for high demand at polling places, and a roving team of seven county staffers — dedicated exclusively to provisional ballots — has been responding to restock polling places as they run low.

One election judge at Chestnutold Elementary School in Haverford Township said about half of voters who had arrived by 3 p.m. Tuesday had filled out provisional ballots because they never received mail ballots from Delaware County.

At Chatham Park Elementary School in Havertown, judge of elections Monica Moran said 19 people had cast provisional ballots as of about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday. By comparison, she said, her precinct had seen two or three provisional ballots in the past four elections combined.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed an 11th-hour executive order Monday that allows voters in Delaware County and five other counties to have their mail ballots counted if they are postmarked by today and arrive within a week. Still, some voters said they would vote by provisional ballot because of worries Wolf’s order would be challenged in court.

Jonathan Lai, Andrew Seidman, Laura McCrystal

3:10 PM - June 2, 2020
3:10 PM - June 2, 2020

Polling place changes cause confusion for some Philly voters

Dozens of voters line up outside Masjidullah in Philadelphia's East Mount Airy section to vote in the Pennsylvania primary election. There were fewer polling locations across the city due to the coronavirus pandemic.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Dozens of voters line up outside Masjidullah in Philadelphia's East Mount Airy section to vote in the Pennsylvania primary election. There were fewer polling locations across the city due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chris Mckant, 32, of Mt Airy, said he went to his usual polling place at Finley Recreation Center and waited in line there for 20 minutes before learning he could not vote there and was redirected to Masjidullah mosque and Islamic Community Center.

At around 2:30, he had been waiting in line there for about 15 minutes and the line was moving quickly. He said he hopes people don’t wait too late to vote because they might be in the wrong place.

Philadelphia has decreased the number of polling places throughout the city due to the coronavirus pandemic. But some voters and officials at Masjidullah mosque said Tuesday that there were not signs posted at usual polling places to redirect voters, leading to more confusion.

“A lot of people right now are distracted because of what’s going on across the city and the country,” Mckant said. “But seeing this long line is encouraging.”

Mckant said he had talked to young voters around 19 or 20 years old who are “at home because they think their vote doesn’t matter."

“The vote does matter. I know that 1,000%," he said.

Michaelle Bond

2:44 PM - June 2, 2020
2:44 PM - June 2, 2020

‘This is what I can do,’ says Delco voter who didn’t get mail ballot in time

Carney Ruis, 36, of Haverford Township, voted at Haverford Community Recreation and Environmental Center on Tuesday. She went to vote in person after she did not receive her mail ballot from Delaware County.
Andrew Seidman / staff
Carney Ruis, 36, of Haverford Township, voted at Haverford Community Recreation and Environmental Center on Tuesday. She went to vote in person after she did not receive her mail ballot from Delaware County.

Turnout was low at the Haverford Community Recreation and Environmental Center in Delaware County — which election officials attributed to a high rate of mail ballots.

But some voters didn’t receive their mail ballots in time, like Carney Ruis, 36. Her voting routine was further scrambled by the county’s consolidation of polling places. Ruis — who said she lost her job at a restaurant in March amid the pandemic and now works fewer hours for worse pay — usually votes at St. George’s Church.

Once she got to the new polling place, she said poll workers told her how to cast a provisional ballot, she said.

Ruis said her sister didn’t receive a mail ballot in time, either — but her parents did.

She said she felt compelled to vote in person. “I’m not going to go out looting. I’m not going to burn things down,” she said. “This is what I can do.”

Ruis said she was excited to vote for state Rep. Greg Vitali, a Democrat who is facing a challenge from Jennifer Leith.

— Andrew Seidman

2:31 PM - June 2, 2020
2:31 PM - June 2, 2020

Light turnout, poll workers in face shields in Lower Merion

Voters cast ballots at Bala Cynwyd Middle School on Tuesday.
Allison Steele / staff
Voters cast ballots at Bala Cynwyd Middle School on Tuesday.

Voter turnout was light in polling places around Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County. Poll workers said that despite working with consolidated polling locations, they were able to keep voters separate from each other.

At Bala Cynwyd Middle School, where voting was set up on the stage of the auditorium, workers patrolled the room wearing face shields and masks. By midday, only 45 people had voted.

“Any other day, we’d probably see 600 people,” said Casey O’Bannon, a committeeman for the democratic committee of Lower Merion and Narbeth, who said many voters in the area requested mail ballots.

— Allison Steele

1:51 PM - June 2, 2020
1:51 PM - June 2, 2020

Differing views of Trump at Bucks County polls

Debbie Colby, a former Republican committee person from Yardley, said she voted for Andy Meehan, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in the Republican primary, because Fitzpatrick opposes Trump on too many issues.

“I’m a nurse. I think Trump is doing a phenomenal job,” said Colby, who was not familiar with Meehan’s campaign until reviving some Election Day literature at the polling place. “I knew I would not vote for Fitzpatrick. I knew that without a doubt.“

Meanwhile, Susan and Curt Sabate of Yardley said they are Democrats who voted for Christine Finello in her bid for Fitzpatrick’s seat. They said the divisive political climate in the country has made them identify more strongly with Democrats.

"The divisiveness has made us more aligned,” with the Democratic Party,” said Curt Sabate. “We’re typically centrists. But you just can’t be that way.”

Chris Brennan

1:21 PM - June 2, 2020
1:21 PM - June 2, 2020

Long lines form outside some Philly polling places

Voters sign in at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center on Election Day in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Voters sign in at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center on Election Day in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Lines have begun cropping up at some polling places in Philadelphia, in some cases stretching around buildings and sidewalk corners as dozens of voters maintain social distancing before casting their ballots.

There were at least 80 voters in masks waiting early Tuesday afternoon outside the Masjidullah mosque and Islamic community center by the border of the East Mount Airy and West Oak Lane neighborhoods.

One voter said she had been waiting in line for an hour to enter the building and cast her ballot.

Hyrah Muhammad, 30, a teacher’s assistant from West Oak Lane, said she had expected lines to vote but felt it was important to cast a ballot.

“I feel like you have to vote in the change,” she said. “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain. You didn’t decide to make the change.”

Yellow tape on the sidewalk directed voters to stand a few feet apart, though that extended less than halfway down the line of voters, which stretched around the corner and halfway down another block.

“It was rough at first, but it’s starting to mellow out,” Saleem Abdullateef, the mosque’s business manager who was helping direct voters, said around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday morning, when the line stretched down to Ogontz Avenue, “a lot of people left because of the wait,” he said.

A 10-minute drive away, about two dozen voters lined up outside Lingelbach Elementary School in Germantown — with the line continuing inside in the building.

In South Philadelphia, a similar line of about 20 to 30 voters waited outside DiSilvestro Recreation Center, waiting about half an hour to vote.

Michaelle Bond, Tim Tai, Jonathan Lai

12:26 PM - June 2, 2020
12:26 PM - June 2, 2020

Low turnout reported at Upper Darby polling place blocks from 69th Street looting

Cheryl Johnson, a poll worker, outside the Upper Darby Municipal Building on Tuesday.
Andrew Seidman, staff
Cheryl Johnson, a poll worker, outside the Upper Darby Municipal Building on Tuesday.

There were no lines to vote at the Upper Darby Municipal Building before noon on Tuesday, just blocks from the 69th Street shopping corridor that saw some looting earlier this week.

The National Guard was deployed to help police with the response.

Given the coronavirus pandemic and days of unrest in the area, “I thought they would postpone” the election, said Cheryl Johnson, a poll worker.

Johnson attributed low turnout to Delaware County’s consolidation of polling places. For example, a firehouse where elderly and disabled people usually vote was closed this election, Johnson said. “People have to walk farther to a voting place,” she said.

Not many people in the precinct requested mail ballots, she said. Venus Little, 63, said she wasn’t worried about voting in person. “I just made sure I had a mask,” said Little, who works in a hospital.

She said she was excited to vote for Joe Biden. “I think he’s real," she said. “He has no problem telling the truth. … I’m just hoping people turn out.”

Reflecting on the demonstrations of recent days, she said, “It’s sad what happened to George Floyd. It’s been going on for ages. They just had enough.”

Natoma Danal, 53, expressed disapproval of looting and said people “have to move on and learn how we can express our anger in better ways” — like voting.

Danal said she felt safe voting in person because election officials had said they would wear masks. “I got bold. I’m gonna be bold to come here in person. I’m healthy,” she said. But she said her mother, who lives in Philadelphia, was still waiting for her mail ballot.

Andrew Seidman

12:18 PM - June 2, 2020
12:18 PM - June 2, 2020

Early morning lines wrap around Philadelphia polling locations

11:57 AM - June 2, 2020
11:57 AM - June 2, 2020

Philly voters use mail ballot drop box: 'There was nothing that was gonna keep me from voting’

A steady stream of voters made use of the ballot drop box outside of City Hall on Tuesday morning.

About two dozen voters dropped off ballots in one 20-minute span. Some took selfies or clapped for each other after making the drop.

Megan Ita and Michael Magaraci, roommates in Graduate Hospital, dropped off ballots supporting Bernie Sanders.

“I know it’s decided but I thought if it gives him more negotiating power at the convention, that’s a good thing.” Magaraci, 29, said.

He said the protests over the last week have reiterated the importance of voting.

“The main thing I’ve learned is I definitely need to be more involved and active in local politics because decisions that are made that don’t affect me as a white male affect a lot of people I care about,” Magaraci said.

Paul Griffing, of Rittenhouse, tried to drop a ballot at his polling place but was redirected to the drop box. He was excited to support Joe Biden and state Rep. Brian Sims.

“There was nothing that was gonna keep me from voting today even during a pandemic and with a curfew,” Griffing said.

Jacob Graff, 19, cast his first every ballot by dropping it into the red, white, and blue box. He went with his dad, Benjamin. “He used to come into the booth and push the button for me,” Benjamin Graff said. “This is a little different.”

Julia Terruso

11:40 AM - June 2, 2020
11:40 AM - June 2, 2020

Some Bucks County ballots are the wrong size

An unexpected problem has popped up in Bucks County’s first countywide election using new voting machines: Some paper ballots are the wrong size.

The new system uses hand-marked paper ballots. Voters fill in bubbles to make their selections and then feed them into a scanner to be counted. But some ballots are just slightly too big — as little as an eighth of an inch, said county spokesperson Larry King.

It’s unclear how many ballots are affected, but several precincts have reported the problem, King said.

County elections officials are reaching out to workers in every polling place to determine how widespread the problem is and to provide instructions on what to do: The completed ballot should be placed in the red emergency ballot bag, which will be delivered with other material to county offices in Doylestown.

The unscanned ballots will be counted by the high-speed scanners used to tally mail ballots, which King said should be able to handle their size. If not, they’ll be counted by hand.

“We’re basically saying, make sure everybody is allowed to fill out a ballot and then try to scan it,” he said. “If it doesn’t scan, put that ballot in the bag.”

There were no ballot size problems in March’s special election in Bensalem, which was the first time the county used the equipment, King said.

Jonathan Lai

11:16 AM - June 2, 2020
11:16 AM - June 2, 2020

Philadelphia has drop boxes for mail ballots. Here’s how to find yours.

Philadelphia voters who don’t have time to send back their mail ballots for Tuesday’s primary can instead drop them off at multiple locations across the city.

On Tuesday, there are 11 drop boxes for voters to hand-deliver their ballots up until 8 p.m., when polls close.

Drop boxes are new for Philadelphia — and largely foreign to Pennsylvania — because state election law used to restrict absentee ballots so much that only about 5% of votes in any election were cast by mail.

But a new election law now allows any voter to vote by mail, and that combined with the coronavirus pandemic has led to a massive surge in mail ballot requests, with 1.9 million Pennsylvania voters requesting them for today’s election.

Jonathan Lai

11:03 AM - June 2, 2020
11:03 AM - June 2, 2020

‘Voting makes me able to breathe a little bit’

Andrea Clarke, 58, lives in Center City, but in order to vote, she had to travel from Bucks County, where she’s been staying during the protests over police brutality.

“I am very much for the protest, but the looting has gotten out of hand,” said Clarke, an attorney who voted at the Kimmel Center.

She had applied for a mail-in ballot but didn’t think she’d be able to mail it in time to be counted, so she decided to vote in person. She didn’t hear until Tuesday morning that Gov. Tom Wolf had extended the deadline for mail ballots in some counties, including Philadelphia.

“With COVID and the protests, a mail-in ballot would have been great,” she said.

She was nervous about voting in person but said one way to affect change is by voting. “I know voting is important,” said Clarke, who is black. “To me, voting makes me able to breathe a little bit.”

She came out to vote for Joe Biden. “Biden is definitely more in line with my liberal views,” she said. And, she added, he doesn’t promote violence.

Maryann Henderson, of Center City, was one of about 50 people lined up outside City Hall as Biden’s motorcade left after his speech on Tuesday.

“I’m here to see the next president," she said, getting emotional. "I’m here to see change, it’s gotta come,”

The retired Camden guidance counselor said working with children was fueling her tears.

“Anyone who’s dealt with children sees it’s gotta change,” she said.

Henderson said she voted by mail for Biden and hasn’t minded the unrest in Philadelphia.

“We need justice for all no matter what. America won’t be here without justice, once we lose justice we lose this country.”

Michaelle Bond, Julia Terruso

10:42 AM - June 2, 2020
10:42 AM - June 2, 2020

Hand sanitizer, sandwich boards, sidewalk chalk: Voting during a pandemic

Bridget Mason, volunteer for state senate candidate Nikil Saval, distributes hand sanitizer to voters at the precinct at the Bache-Martin School in Philadelphia's Fairmount neighborhood on Tuesday.
MONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer
Bridget Mason, volunteer for state senate candidate Nikil Saval, distributes hand sanitizer to voters at the precinct at the Bache-Martin School in Philadelphia's Fairmount neighborhood on Tuesday.

Campaign volunteers offered voters hand sanitizer instead of flyers. Sidewalk chalk directed voters where to stand in line. And sandwich boards stationed outside polls replaced sample ballots, as Philadelphians cast their votes Tuesday morning in the primary election.

“It’s a lot,” said Danie Greenwell, a judge of elections working at The Kimmel Center polling location in Philadelphia. “Everything is different this year.”

Poll workers at The Kimmel Center, some wearing face shields as well as masks, have masks available but every voter has worn one of their own, Greenwell said. As of 10:30 a.m., 103 people had voted. Eleven of those voters had to cast provisional ballots because they hadn’t yet received the mail-in ballots they had applied for.

Greenwell had the voters casting provisional ballots sit spaced out at tables.

“It’s tough to figure out how to keep people safe,” she said.

She said provisional voting is time consuming, and people were confused and angry they had to vote that way.

At 12th and Wharton Streets, Emma McCafferty showed up at 6:45 am to talk to voters on behalf of Nikil Saval, a Democrat running for the state Senate. She said campaign workers were not expecting a large turnout because many voters requested mail-in ballots.

“It’s been a pretty steady stream," she said. "I was surprised by how many people were here in line when I first got here.”

Michaelle Bond, Chris Brennan, Laura McCrystal

10:27 AM - June 2, 2020
10:27 AM - June 2, 2020

Biden calls for unity, healing in Philly following nationwide protests: ‘A country is crying out for leadership’

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at Philadelphia City Hall on Tuesday.
Matt Rourke / AP
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at Philadelphia City Hall on Tuesday.

Former Vice President Joe Biden called protests in Philadelphia and across the nation “a wake-up call for our nation” and repeated the words uttered by George Floyd before he was killed as Minneapolis police knelt on his neck: “I can’t breathe.”

“It’s not the first time we’ve heard those words,” Biden said Tuesday morning at City Hall, referencing the death of Eric Garner in 2014. “But it’s time to listen to those words. To try and understand them. To respond to them. Respond with action.”

“A country is crying out for leadership,” Biden added during his election day appearance. “Leadership that can unite us, leadership that brings us together. Leadership that can recognize pain and the grief of communities that have had a knee on their neck for a long time."

Biden called out looters that have ransacked cities following demonstrations against police brutality. But he also pointed the finger at police offers, who at times have “escalated tension” amid otherwise peaceful demonstrations.

"We need to distinguish between legitimate peaceful protest and opportunistic violent destruction,” Biden said.

Biden also criticized President Donald Trump for dispersing peaceful protesters outside the White House on Monday evening prior to the city’s curfew to make way for a photo opportunity at a church across the street.

“When peaceful protestors are dispersed by the order for a president, from the doorstep of the people’s house, the White House— using tear gas and flash grenades — in order to stage a photo op at one of the most historic churches in the country… we can be forgiven for believing that the president is more interested in power than in principle,” Biden said.

“The president of the United States must be part of the solution, not the problem,” Biden added. “This president today is part of the problem, and accelerates it.”

Rob Tornoe, Jonathan Tamari

10:05 AM - June 2, 2020
10:05 AM - June 2, 2020

Biden speaks from Philadelphia City Hall

Joe Biden is speaking from City Hall in Philadelphia.

Several Philadelphia Democrats are inside, including Mayor Jim Kenney, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, and State Sen. Sharif Street. Biden is speaking from the mayor’s reception room on the second floor of City Hall, which remains closed to the public amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Julia Terruso, Laura McCrystal

9:55 AM - June 2, 2020
9:55 AM - June 2, 2020

Pandemic adds layer of ‘mishaps’ as polling places open

Pandemic-related changes to voting procedures added another layer to the usual bumpy start to election day in some polling places across the Philadelphia region, but voting had largely smoothed out by mid-morning.

Delaware County Councilmember Christine Reuther said there had been “some mishaps” with supplies not being delivered on time, but said things were settling down by about 9 a.m., two hours after polls opened.

In Upper Darby, Colleen Kennedy, an activist who is working the polls for the first time, said her polling place did not have cleaning supplies or masks for voters and poll workers. “We definitely did not have enough [personal protective equipment,]” she said.

Most people have so far been showing up with their own face coverings, she said.

Kennedy’s mom brought her disinfectant spray, gloves, and pens — they were supposed to have enough that voters wouldn’t have to share — and Kennedy found some cleaning supplies in the school where voting is taking place. Poll workers made due, she said, and the voters there are not encountering trouble.

The first hour or two of every election is a mad dash to ensure polling places are open, poll workers show up, and voting machines are set up. This year, poll workers also had to contend with new voting and check-in processes in some places, including Delaware County and Philadelphia.

In addition to the usual reports of issues in various locations, such as voting machines not being ready to go or election supplies missing, voters in some locations in Philadelphia reported initial confusion with poll workers trying to set up a unified check-in system. Multiple precincts were consolidated into each polling place this year, with one check-in process — but some poll workers were not prepared for that and expected to have separate poll book check-ins, as is usual.

City Commissioner Al Schmidt, one of the three elected officials who run elections in Philadelphia, tweeted that “consolidated polling locations and check-in tables have added to the regular stress of the morning set-up process.”

Jonathan Lai

9:23 AM - June 2, 2020
9:23 AM - June 2, 2020

Biden to speak from Philly City Hall, calling George Floyd’s death ‘a wake-up call’

Joe Biden is expected to address the unrest across the country from Philadelphia City Hall at 10 a.m. Tuesday, contrasting his leadership style with that of President Donald Trump, and calling George Floyd’s death “a wake-up call for our nation.”

Biden’s speech in Philadelphia comes hours after polling places opened in Pennsylvania for the state’s primary election. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, will criticize Trump for dispersing protesters outside the White House on Monday evening to make way for a photo opportunity at a church, according to prepared remarks released by his campaign. He will accuse Trump of doing so to serve “the passions of his base.”

“I won’t traffic in fear and division. I won’t fan the flames of hate,” Biden plans to say. “I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country — not use them for political gain.”

Biden will also reference Floyd’s last words before he died as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck: “I can’t breathe.”

“They speak to a nation where every day millions of people — not at the moment of losing their life, but in the course of living their life — are saying to themselves, ‘I can’t breathe.’”

Laura McCrystal

8:52 AM - June 2, 2020
8:52 AM - June 2, 2020

Voters line up at different polling places as election day begins in Pa.

Residents lined up at polling places to cast their votes as polls opened Tuesday morning in Philadelphia.

But the scene was different than a typical election day, as voters wore masks and stood at least six feet behind the voter in front of them in line.

Voters also went to different polling locations than usual, after the city reduced the number of polling places due to the coronavirus pandemic.

About 30 voters were lined up outside Kensington High School at 7:30 a.m., as poll workers tried to get voting machines up and running.

Sahra Riccardi, 34, said she arrived at 7:05 a.m. to vote and finished shortly before 8 a.m.

“Once I got inside, it was really confused… people were milling about,” she said.

By 8:30 a.m., poll workers in Kensington were smoothly checking people in, offering them hand sanitizer, and cleaning the machines between voters. The wait time in the line of about a dozen voters was between 10 and 15 minutes.

Jonathan Lai, Laura McCrystal

8:45 AM - June 2, 2020
8:45 AM - June 2, 2020

Biden to make election day visit to Philly to address Floyd protests

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden bows his head in prayer as he visits Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del., on June 1, 2020.
Andrew Harnik / AP
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden bows his head in prayer as he visits Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del., on June 1, 2020.

Joe Biden will visit Philadelphia on Tuesday to speak about the protests and violence convulsing the country.

Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, will speak on “the civil unrest facing communities across America” his campaign said. It did not provide further details.

The event will be Biden’s first outside of Delaware, and only his fourth stop outside his home since the coronavirus pandemic halted campaigning in March.

Biden’s address will come a day after President Donald Trump delivered a speech from the Rose Garden of the White threatening to deploy the military to crush violent protests and “dominate the streets” if governors don’t act with more force. He labeled violence and looting “acts of domestic terror.”

Biden has struck a far different tone since the protests began rippling across the country. He visited protests in Wilmington, Del., Sunday and met with African American leaders in the city Monday, promising to address institutional racism in his first 100 days in office and expressing sympathy for those protesting police brutality.

“Hate just hides. It doesn’t go away, and when you have somebody in power who breathes oxygen into the hate under the rocks, it comes out from under the rocks,” Biden said Monday.

— Jonathan Tamari

8:05 AM - June 2, 2020
8:05 AM - June 2, 2020

Trump says mail voting is ‘fraudulent.’ Pa. Republicans are listening

President Donald Trump has said voting by mail is “fraudulent” and will result in “rigged” elections.

In Pennsylvania, Republican voters appear to be listening — despite efforts by national and state party officials to encourage mail voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As of late last week, about 1.3 million registered Democrats had requested and been approved for mail ballots for the June 2 primary election, compared with about 524,000 Republicans. Republicans made just 29% of the requests, even though they represent 38% of registered voters in the state and 45% of those registered with either major party.

“I must tell you that locally, in my county, we’re not advocating and we’re not pushing the mail-in voting,” said Lee Snover, chairwoman of the Northampton County GOP. “We’re concerned about fraud. We’re not happy with the process. Trump has sent the message out there that he’s concerned about it as well.

“I think that we need to inspire Americans to get out and go to the polls,” she said. “Sign in, identify yourself, and vote.”

Northampton County, about 80 miles northwest of Philadelphia, was one of three in the state that voted twice for Barack Obama before backing Trump.

“Our county kind of is a Trump county. We’re kind of listening to Trump on this,” Snover said. “He’s spoken about it. He’s tweeted about it. He doesn’t want us to do it.”

Snover said “more than one person” has told her that “Trump doesn’t want us mailing in, [so] I’m not mailing it in.”

-Andrew Seidman

7:00 AM - June 2, 2020
7:00 AM - June 2, 2020

What we’re watching for today — and in the days ahead

Pennsylvanians are voting Tuesday in an atmosphere with few precedents — if any.

On top of a pandemic that had already scrambled elections across the country, the vote will come after days of protests over the killing of George Floyd as Minneapolis police knelt on his neck and violent clashes that have added more tension — and left an already stricken Philadelphia smoldering in places.

The Democratic presidential primary is effectively over, so the biggest test may be for election officials. How people vote may be just as important as who they vote for.

Pennsylvania will be holding its first statewide election since the onset of the coronavirus, and officials were already facing huge challenges amid social distancing, low staffing, and a flood of requests for mail ballots far beyond anything Pennsylvania has ever seen — before protests and looting added to the disruption.

Will Tuesday produce another Wisconsin, where voters in April were forced to stand in long lines and thousands of ballots didn’t reach voters in time? How long will it take to get results? And is there anything the outcome can tell us about the state of play in a swing state critical to the presidential election?

-Jonathan Tamari, Jonathan Lai

6:50 AM - June 2, 2020
6:50 AM - June 2, 2020

The top races to watch

The Pennsylvania primary election Tuesday marks the first time the very act of casting a ballot has completely overshadowed the candidates on it.

First the primary was shifted five weeks forward from April 28 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Then the Democratic contest for president effectively ended, with Joe Biden’s victory all but assured. Almost two million Pennsylvanians have requested mail-in ballots. And 77% of Philadelphia’s polling places won’t be open on primary day. It all means it could be days before we have actual results.

But the election marches on, even if there are few competitive races.

-Chris Brennan, Andrew Seidman, Sean Collins Walsh

6:45 AM - June 2, 2020
6:45 AM - June 2, 2020

Coronavirus means a very different kind of election day

Union members at Famous 4th Street Deli in Philadelphia, Pa., on November 8, 2016, Election Day.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Union members at Famous 4th Street Deli in Philadelphia, Pa., on November 8, 2016, Election Day.

That quintessential sound of an approaching election in Philadelphia — a sharp knock on your door — has fallen silent.

There are no volunteers on the steps with a stack of campaign literature — and, in the era of social distancing, packed rallies are out, too. Instead, hope your WiFi connection holds up while a politician asks for your vote in a Zoom meeting.

As they mourn the loss of the normal rituals of electioneering to the coronavirus pandemic, those who seek office or run campaigns in Pennsylvania say nobody has a clue how Tuesday’s primary election might go.

Even former Gov. Ed Rendell, always quick with political analysis or predictions, was at a loss.

“All I know is I already cast my vote via mail,” Rendell said.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen,” said Bob Brady, chairman of Philadelphia’s Democratic City Committee. "No one does. We’re in completely strange and virgin territory.”

-Chris Brennan