By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you still plan to vote early in Pennsylvania but have not yet requested a mail-in ballot, you are almost out of time. The deadline for Pennsylvanians to apply for mail or absentee ballots is today.

Gov. Tom Wolf and state election officials are urging voters who have already received ballots to hand-deliver them, if possible, immediately.

“If you applied for a mail ballot, now is the time to return it so you can make sure it counts. You can return it to a county election office, you can drop it off at a designated secure drop-off location, an official dropbox,” Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. “Just make sure, no matter what, that you drop off your ballot by 8 p.m. on Election Day but don’t wait.”

Pennsylvania has received an unprecedented amount of mail ballots already with a week to go before the Nov. 3 election.

2020 Election Guide: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware

State officials have until Nov. 6 to count all ballots received by Election Day.

“Voter registration in Pennsylvania has topped 9 million, as Gov. Wolf said, a record high. More than 3 million Pennsylvanians have already applied for mail-in or absentee ballots and over 1.5 million have already cast those ballots by mail, secure drop-off location or in-person at their election office,” Boockvar said.

“The number one priority of the Department of State and of counties is to make sure each ballot is counted accurately and securely,” Wolf said.

A steady stream of voters are returning mail ballots early here in South Philadelphia, including Councilman Kenyatta Johnson.

“For me, it’s about changing our direction in which our country is going in. We are encouraging, challenging, and advocating as many voters as possible to come out and cast their ballot on Nov. 3,” Johnson said.

State officials say voters who will be going to polling places on Election Day can expect heavy turnout.

They can also expect COVID-19 safety procedures to be in place. State election officials say polling places will be secure and voter intimidation will not be tolerated.

“Everybody gets a vote, and that vote is your voice. So come out, whether it’s today by 5 o’clock, or whether it’s in person on Nov. 3, your vote is your voice,” said Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley.


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