Postal service prepares for increase of mail-in ballots

A+surge+in+mail-in+voting+is+expected+for+the+November+general+election+due+to+public%0Ahealth+concerns+related+to+the+coronavirus+pandemic.

Leannah Messenger

A surge in mail-in voting is expected for the November general election due to public health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Leannah Messenger, Editorial Editor

Voters in the upcoming presidential election are faced with many concerns about how and where to vote due to COVID-19 concerns. However, voters now have more opportunities to vote by mail, which to many is a safer and easier method of voting. According to Act 77 that was passed by Gov. Tom Wolf on Oct. 31, 2019, voters have more opportunity, security and time to return absentee or mail-in ballots. There has also been some confusion when it comes to why one would mail-in, how to mail-in and if this type of ballot is less secure than in-person voting. In recent times, due to concerns about COVID-19 spread or because people aren’t comfortable with leaving their house, mail-in ballots have become the preferred method of voting. There are many benefits to mail-in ballots because this form of voting gives people who aren’t able to get to a polling station a chance to vote, which leads to more of a turnout in the election. 

“If more people would vote if they could vote by mail then I think that’s a great thing. Because there are so many people who just don’t vote,” School board member Mary Ann Petcovic said. 

Absentee ballots are also another way of voting for people who can’t be near their local polling station(s), who are out of state or too far away, like college students. This allows for more votes for the people who may nit have been able to vote if not for the absentee ballots. 

“I registered to vote about a week after my 18th birthday, which was in July, so about a month before I moved into college. Because of the way my college is operating, I most likely won’t be able to make it to the polls on election day, but I still want to vote in my local election, so I’m planning on getting an absentee ballot,” Freedom Alumni Cole Skuse said. 

Both absentee and mail-in ballots give those that don’t have the opportunity or ability to vote normally a chance to cast their vote. 

Many people are preparing for the upcoming election, including the Beaver County elections office which is hard at work. Employees are working overtime and weekends to keep up with these incoming ballots and to prepare for the upcoming election.  

“We’re doing what we always do, and we process the work as it comes. [Mail-in ballots] come continuously through the mail and electronically, so we just keep going,” Director of the Beaver County Elections Office, Dorene Mandity said. 

Due to the rise in cases of COVID-19, there have been concerns about going into polling stations due to the usually crowded atmosphere, but during recent elections and upcoming elections, polling stations are accommodating safety measures. Also, when mailing ballots, your best option is to immediately place your ballot and send it back, to have less of a chance of ballots being late. With there being some concerns throughout the media about the security of mail-in ballots. 

“There is so much out there- media pros and cons, they can always hand-carry their ballot and bring it directly here to the courthouse- to the elections office if they’re uncomfortable with sending it in the mail,” Mandity said. 

There can be many concerns about any type of voting but there are many different options for casting a vote. Mail-in ballots are one type of voting that is seen as easier and more comfortable for many at this time, but polling stations are also open for the public as long as voters bring their own mask, pen and practice/maintain proper social distancing. The goal is to have as many people voting as possible, no matter how they vote. After all, the more people that vote, the better the results become.