Mail-in voting, fewer pandemic restrictions contribute to smooth primary election in Centre County
The primary election Tuesday was the fifth election since Pennsylvania allowed no-excuse voting by mail under Act 77. In Centre County, officials said voters are taking advantage of that option, which made the election process smoother.
Before polls opened Tuesday, voters had already returned more than 8,000 mail-in ballots to Centre County’s election office.
County Commissioner Michael Pipe said it took about 10 hours to process all of them on Tuesday. The county estimated between 800 and 1,000 more mail-in ballots were received on primary day. Pipe said those were expected to be counted in about three hours Wednesday.
In an update Thursday, the county had received a total of 9,269 mail-in ballots.
Pipe said voting by mail allows in-person voting to run smoother. He said that coupled with the least amount of pandemic restrictions in place since the primary election in 2020, increased the efficiency of the county elections office.
“In the vote-by-mail room, we didn’t have masking requirements. We didn’t have masking requirements for poll workers. The vote-by-mail room – we weren’t doing as much social distancing," he said. "So there were some efficiencies we could get by just having a smaller space that we were utilizing.”
More than 19,000 Centre County voters used mail-in ballots in the 2020 presidential primary. That number decreased to fewer than 9,000 last year.