PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Amid chaos and the coronavirus pandemic, today is primary day in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia’s citywide 6 p.m. curfew has been extended until 8:30 p.m. for tonight only to allow travel to and from polling locations for voters. The curfew lasts until 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Officials also confirm that no voter will face arrest or law enforcement action while trying to vote in the city today.
The Kimmel Center is serving as the polling place for nine different polling precincts.
There’s been a steady, although light stream of people coming to the Kimmel Center to vote.
Poll workers are wearing masks and hand sanitizer is available.
Despite the Kimmel Center and other polling places being open, city and state officials are urging people to vote-by-mail.
A new state law allows any voter to vote-by-mail, but with the pandemic and unrest, there are some concerns about how quickly votes will be counted.
Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order last night extending the deadline for mail-in ballots. If you live in Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Montgomery or Philadelphia County, your ballot has until June 9 to reach election officials.
“The governor extended the deadline for the counties to receive the ballot, but that ballot, in order to be counted, it needs to be postmarked with today’s date, no later than today,” said Philadelphia City Commissioners Chairwoman Lisa Deeley.
One-point-six million voters applied for mail-in ballots. Philadelphia elections officials didn’t report any major issues, but the voting advocacy group Common Cause Pennsylvania says the changed election date and polling places may lead to lower voter turnout, especially in minority communities.
But the message from those who did come out was for their voice to be heard.
“Vote all the time, no matter what election it is. You step up to the plate and you vote. Because you can’t make change by talking about it, you have to be about it, and being about it is about voting,” said voter Lisa Alexander.
Voter Ellen Adair said this was not an election to sit out.
“There’s a lot going on in the universe right now and whatever the maximum amount of chaos they can bring, we have a job to combat that and you have the power to stand up and do something,” Adair said.
Polls are open until 8 p.m.