Election Protection Coalition Details Election Day Challenges

Coalition monitoring polling places and voter problems, providing updates throughout the day

HARRISBURG (June 2, 2020) – The Pennsylvania Election Protection coalition today has fielded more than 350 calls to the toll-free Election Protection Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE, including 191 reports of problems, as of 10 a.m.

As predicted, turnout at in-person polling places is low, especially in Philadelphia, which has experienced civil unrest in response to police violence against Black citizens.

Individuals who decided to vote in person have encountered polling places that did not open on time in Allegheny, Delaware, Lehigh and Philadelphia counties, as well as confusion with machines and long lines.

Across the state:
•    Workers at a polling place in Lehigh County are refusing to wear PPE.
•    A polling place in Brookhaven, Delaware County, still had not opened as of 9 a.m.
•    Machine failures have been reported in Philadelphia, Bucks and Lancaster counties.
•    Intimidating police presence has been reported at the polling place for Allegheny County’s majority Black borough of Wilkinsburg, as well as in Allentown and Philadelphia.

Some specific examples in Philadelphia:
•    Poll workers at Carver High School in North Philadelphia had to bring their own personal protective equipment (PPE).
•    Voters in East Mount Airy—at both Finley Recreation Center and Anna B. Day School—are reporting wait times of 90 minutes to 2 hours due to malfunctioning voting machines, causing voters to vote provisionally. Many left instead.
•    At a West Philadelphia school—where 8,584 voters were assigned to a consolidated polling place—secrecy envelopes were not available for provisional ballot voters. (Any voter who experienced a challenge to voting by mail needs to cast a provisional ballot today to have their vote counted.)
•    DiSilvestro Recreation Center in South Philadelphia has a very long line with no social distancing markings.

“The state and counties are doing the best that they can today, amid incredibly challenging circumstances, and we appreciate that,” said Suzanne Almeida, interim executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania. “However, if county elections offices don’t receive additional resources to address problems like these, we are very concerned about what will happen in November.”

The Pennsylvania Election Protection Coalition is led by a core group of organizations, including Common Cause Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Voice, ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Pitt Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security (Pitt Cyber), All Voting is Local, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Fair Elections Center.