May 7, 2020
Could Your Library Serve as a Polling Place?
Pennsylvania's June 2 primary is fast approaching. Each year county elections boards face a shortage of polling places and workers; but this year, due to the pandemic, there is an even greater need. This is why the Pennsylvania Department of State has reached out to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for its help.
Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of State (DOS) are asking schools, libraries, and other community organizations to help fill this need by using their facilities as polling places should they be requested by your county.
Libraries located in counties that are designated as Red or Yellow may remain open with essential personnel to receive supplies, prepare the space, and monitor the polling operation on Voting day. (Libraries that are polling places may not provide routine, in-person public services.)
To support the seamless and safe execution of a library-based polling location, state and county elections boards will provide "precinct infection protection kits" that include face guards, masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and floor tape to aid social distancing. Some counties have also secured plexiglass barriers to separate poll workers and the public.
For more guidance on what serving as a polling place would entail please refer to the guidance that has been published for Pennsylvania polling places during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Even if your library has not been a polling place before, I hope you'll give serious consideration to opening your building this election season if called upon by your local county board of elections.
Should you have any questions about the details of your county's election day plan, please reach out directly to your county election officials. All other questions may be directed to Jonathan Marks, Deputy Secretary for Elections and Commissions, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (717) 783-2035 or Stephen Latanishen, DOS Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, at email@example.com or (717) 214-6679.
More COVID-19 Resources
Information and future guidance will be announced as soon as it is available via our statewide email distribution lists and on our Guidance and Resources for Public Libraries website. This page has links to:
Questions about COVID-19 issues should be directed to the Pennsylvania Department of Education's emergency response account at:
Glenn R. Miller, Deputy Secretary & Commissioner for Libraries