COVID-19 pandemic plays an impact on the 2020 Primary Election

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Today is the 2020 Primary Election here in Erie County and voters are heading to the polls to cast their votes.

The 2020 Primary Election is underway. We headed over to the polls located at Erie High School which moved their polls from the front lobby to the back of the building.

People heading to the polls are masked up and are also able to bring their paper ballots to fill out.

They are then bringing the ballots to the new machines that will scan the ballots and then tally the votes. Voting polls still do however have their traditional tally machines.

Don Weibel has been helping the polling centers here in Erie for 18 years now, he discussed the changes that are taking place this year with the polls.

“The scanner is the newest thing that we have and it is very simple to use, it’s not difficult to use at all. We also have the tablet. The tablet sort of reminds you of the old machines with the ballot,” said Don Weibel, Poll Volunteer.

According to Weibel, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a very negative impact on the voter turn out this year. Thus far it is reported that the voter turn out over at the Erie High School polls has been very low with only less than 100 voters out of at least 800.

Leading up to the noon hour at the polls, there were only 40 voters. This is a change from last year where the numbers would have been in the hundreds by the noon hour.

This year voters are turning more towards the paper ballots rather than the traditional machines due to the fact that it seems to make the voting process faster.

Even with the pandemic going on, Weibel said that people feel safe at the polls while being very helpful and in good spirits.

According to Weibel, the mail in ballots are truly having an effect on this years voter turnout. Just a reminder the polls are open until 8 p.m. tonight.

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Pennsylvania COVID-19 Map

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

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