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Dauphin County Commissioners ask voters for patience; new voting system and glut of mail-in ballots could cause delays

The commissioners said it could be several days before official results of Tuesday's primary election are known
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DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — With the implementation of a new voting system and additional safety measure in place due to COVID-19, the Dauphin County Board of Commissioners are asking voters for patience during Tuesday's primary election.

The commissioners said 40,254 mail-in and absentee balltos were requested, and more than 26,000 have already been received in Dauphin County. The need to verify those votes against precinct poll books and scan the ballots could make it several days before official results are known.

“This is the first time we’re using our new voting system, and we ask for everyone’s patience at the polls,’’ said Commissioner Mike Pries, who chairs the county’s Elections Board. “We also expect slight delays as our poll workers follow the CDC guidelines for cleaning surfaces and the voting equipment.’’

For everyone’s safety, the county commissioners said they have secured personal protective equipment kits available for all election day workers, including disinfectant antibacterial wipes, sanitary protective gloves, surgical masks, hand sanitizer and microfiber cloths. 

Hand sanitizer, isopropyl alcohol screen wipes and sanitary headset covers will be available for voters, the commissioners said.

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Although pens are available and regularly disinfected, as recommended by the CDC, voters are encouraged to bring their own ballpoint pens with black or blue ink if they are concerned about safety, the commissioners said.

Voters are also encouraged to wear masks and social distance at the polls.

“All of us have a role to play in keeping each other safe on Tuesday,’’ said board Chairman Jeff Haste. “We have a dedicated team of poll workers who are working hard, and under unique circumstances, on behalf of our community.”

Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III said voters who requested mail-in or absentee ballots have until 8 p.m. on June 2 to get them to the county’s elections office, where there is a secure collection box.

“We want to make sure everyone’s vote counts,’’ Hartwick said.