BEDFORD COUNTY SEAL

The Bedford County Elections Office is adjusting to the expected delay of the primary election and other changes brought about by the coronavirus.

Pennsylvania lawmakers on Wednesday voted to delay the state’s primary election by five weeks to June 2. Gov. Tom Wolf said he would sign it.

Brown said she had not heard any official notice from the governor by the middle of the day Thursday, but said she expects it to happen soon.

Brown said the county has not printed its ballots for the spring primary, originally scheduled for April 28, due to the uncertainty with the coronavirus.

“The ballots are still at the printers,” she said.

The delay resulted in one change to the previously approved ballots — Brown said Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be removed as a presidential candidate on the Democratic ballots. Warren ended her campaign March 5, which did not provide counties with enough time to remove her from the ballots for an April 28 election.

The state bill to delay the primary also will allow counties to consolidate polling places, in part because some across the state are located within nursing homes that would be susceptible to outbreaks of the coronavirus.

Brown said it is unlikely the county will change its precincts.

“I wouldn’t even know who to put with who,” she said. “We have not even discussed doing that.”

One welcomed change in the bill is the authorization for counties to begin tabulating mail-in ballots 7 a.m. the morning of the election, rather than after polls close.

“That would help immensely,” Brown said.

Pennsylvanians are permitted to vote by mail-in ballots this year. Voters do not need to specify a reason to use the new ballot option.

Brown said the county will reschedule its training sessions for its new voting machines once the coronavirus shutdowns are lifted.

“As soon as the courthouse reopens, we will reschedule those events around the county,” she said.

The county had previously scheduled the new voting machines to be on display in Bedford, Hyndman, Woodbury, Alum Bank, Everett and Hopewell during events in April.

This year’s primary election will be the first time the county’s new $500,000 voting machines will be used.

Contact Will DeShong at wdeshong@bedfordgazette.com; 623-1151, ext. 150.

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