Everything You Need to Know for the Pennsylvania Primary Election on June 2, 2020

Katie Phillips Access to Health + Wellness, Active + Engaged Residents, Advocacy, Featured Advocacy, General

Voting during the COVID-19 Crisis

Before every primary and general election, PUMP creates a complete voter guide to help you prepare to cast your ballot. Although the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every aspects of our lives – including our elections – we are working hard to make sure that everyone can get informed and vote safely. The Pennsylvania primary election, originally scheduled for April 28, was postponed to June 2 to ensure that election officials and voters can prepare for a safe election.

As we grapple with the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on ourselves, our families, and our neighbors, we must remember that our votes matter. Not only is 2020 a presidential election year, but there are also many important elections for U.S. Congress, statewide offices, and the state legislature happening in the Pittsburgh region and in Pennsylvania. We have the opportunity and the responsibility to make our voices heard on Election Day – as safely as possible. Read on for information about everything from key election dates, to requesting a mail-in ballot, to (virtually) meeting the candidates.

We’ll update this post regularly through Election Day. If we missed something, please let us know by emailing katie@pump.org.

Voting Basics

Registering to Vote:

Vote by mail:

Act 77, voting reform legislation that passed in Pennsylvania in 2019, expanded the use of mail-in ballots for voters. Voters now have the option to vote by mail without providing any reason or excuse. This makes voting much more accessible to Pennsylvanians who might be unable to vote in person on Election Day – and, in the context of COVID-19, it makes it possible for all Pennsylvanians to safely cast their ballot from home.

We encourage everyone who can to vote by mail, rather than going to vote in person on election day, to protect yourself, pollworkers, and your community from the spread of COVID-19. Here’s how:

  • Apply for a Mail-in Ballot by Tuesday, May 26, 2020
  • Fill out your ballot: Once you receive your ballot in the mail, follow the instructions to mark your ballot
    • Make sure to sign the ballot form, or your ballot may not count
  • Return your ballot by Election Day – Tuesday, June 2, 2020
    • Completed mail-in and absentee ballots must be returned by 8 PM on June 2
        • Note: If you are unable to return your ballot by the deadline either in person or by mail, you may only vote by a provisional ballot at your polling place.
    • Track the status of your mail-in ballot here

Vote in person:

Although we strongly advise everyone to vote by mail, you can still vote in person at your local polling place on Election Day. Here’s some helpful information:

  • Primary Election Day: Tuesday, June 2, 2020
    • Polls are open from 7 AM-8 PM
    • Find your polling place
      • NOTE: Allegheny County has reduced the number of polling locations on Election Day to encourage voters to use the vote-by-mail option and protect pollworkers. See the full list of polling places here.
  • Learn about Allegheny County’s new voting system: Allegheny County has  step-by-step instructions for voting using the new system, as well as instructional vides

Know your rights as a voter:

Important election news:

Get to Know the Candidates and the Issues

In 2020, Pennsylvanians will be voting on numerous important races beyond the presidential election. The primary election is an opportunity for voters to select their political party’s nominees for various elected offices. Make sure you learn about all the races and candidates before casting your ballot.

Overview of PA’s 2020 Elections:

  • U.S. House – There will be elections for all 18 of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Congressional seats
  • State Executive Offices – There will be elections for three statewide executive offices:
    • State Auditor General
    • Attorney General
    • Treasurer
  • PA Senate – There will be elections for 25 of the 50 seats in the PA Senate
  • PA House – There will be elections for all 203 seats in the PA House of Representatives

See who is on your ballot:

Meet the candidates:

Virtual debates: 

  • League of Women Voters’ forums: During every election cycle, the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh holds non-partisan candidate forums to help voters get to know candidates. Due to COVID-19, they will be hosting six virtual forums:
    • All of the candidate forums will be recorded at the time below and uploaded to the LWVGP’s Facebook page afterwards for the public to view:
      • Wed. May 6, 7 PM – PA House District 36 – VIEW HERE
        • Candidates: Jessica Benham, Mark Johnson, Heather Kass, and Edward Moeller
      • Tues. May 12, 7 PM – PA Senate District 43 – VIEW HERE
        • Candidates: Sen. Jay Costa and William Brittain
      • Thurs. May 14, 1:30 PM – PA House District 20 – VIEW HERE
        • Candidates: Rep. Adam Ravenstahl and Emily Kinkead
      • Thurs. May 14, 7 PM – PA House District 34 – VIEW HERE
        • Candidates: Rep. Summer Lee and Chris Roland
      • Mon. May 18, 2 PM – PA House District 30 – VIEW HERE
        • Candidates: Marco Attisano and Lissa Geiger-Shulman
      • Tues. May 19, 7 PM – U.S. Congress District 18 – VIEW HERE
        • Candidates: Rep. Mike Doyle and Jerry Dickinson
    • Share your questions with the League of Women Voters for the upcoming candidate forums by:
      • Email at lwvpgh@gmail.com
      • Text or voice at 412-301-5122
      • Message on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
      • Please be sure to include your district in the message! Some questions may be combined due to time limits, and all questions will be screened before the forums.
  • NAACP Pittsburgh + Partners – U.S. District 18 Congressional Town Hall Debate: NAACP Pittsburgh, UrbanKind Institute, and 1Hood Media are hosting a virtual town hall debate for U.S. Congressional District 18 with Rep. Mike Doyle and challenger Jerry Dickinson.
    • Thurs. May 21 from 6 PM-8 PM – U.S. Congress District 18 – VIEW HERE
      • This debate will focus on issues of particular significance to Pittsburgh’s Black community and will include topics such as: Healthcare, Education, Environment, Criminal Justice Reform, Housing, Jobs and Workforce, Immigration, Community and Economic Development, Congressional oversight of the presidency and more. 
      • Share questions for the candidates in the event page or by emailing info@pittsburghnaacp.org.
  • VEEEM Pittsburgh Candidate Debates: VEEM (Voter Empowerment, Education, and Enrichment Movement) is hosting several candidate forums.
    • Mon. May 18, 6 PM – PA Auditor General – VIEW HERE
    • Tues. May 19, 6 PM – PA State Senator – VIEW HERE
    • Wed. May 20, 6 PM – U.S. Congress – VIEW HERE
    • Thurs. May 21, 6 PM – PA State Representative – VIEW HERE

Other tips for getting to know candidates virtually and safely: