This year, voting will look a little different.
Pennsylvania's primaries are set for June 2 after being pushed back a few weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lancaster County is still in the red phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's reopening plan, though the county is slated to move to the yellow phase starting June 5.
Here's what you need to know about the upcoming primary election, from FAQs to races to watch.
What positions are on the ballot?
Registered Democratic and Republican voters will elect their parties’ nominees for:
- U.S. representative.
- State attorney general, auditor general and treasurer.
- State representative.
- State senator in oddnumbered districts.
- Delegate and alternate delegate to national conventions (Democratic and Republican).
Who can vote in a primary election?
Because this state has a closed primary, only voters registered as Democrats or Republicans can vote for the party nominees. However, every registered voter may vote on any referendum or question on the ballot.
In Lancaster County, there is a ballot question in Akron Borough on allowing the sale of liquor in the borough.
When are mail-in ballots due?
Pennsylvanians voting by mail-in or absentee ballot should return their voted ballot as soon as possible, either by mailing it or delivering it in person to their county election office. The deadline for county election offices to receive mail-in ballots is 8 p.m. Tuesday. Postmarks do not count, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State.
The county is still “red”; can I vote in person?
State and local officials have taken precautions to ensure public safety. Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration has said it will be providing some personal protective equipment for poll workers, and Lancaster County also has acquired equipment such as masks and hand sanitizer for workers.
The county recently bought Plexiglas barriers for all voting precincts. Randall Wenger, director of elections for Lancaster County, said hand sanitizer will be available for public use at polling stations.
The board of elections is encouraging in-person voters to maintain social distancing, bring their own pens and wear masks.
Where do I vote?
Some polling place locations have been changed because of the coronavirus. If you don’t know where your polling place is, visit votespa.com and click the link under “Find your polling place.” Enter your home address to get the address and directions to your polling place.
What if I have problems voting?
If you have problems at your polling place, call the Lancaster County Elections Office at 717-299-8293. You also can stop by the Elections Office at 150 N. Queen St., Suite 117. That’s the former Armstrong building at Queen and Chestnut streets. If you’d like to report a voting problem to LNP, call politics reporter Gillian McGoldrick at 717-481-6029. If you’re on Twitter, tweet voting problems or issues using #Lancaster-Votes. Voters also can call the Pennsylvania Department of State’s hotline: 877-VOTESPA (877-868-3772).
Where can I find results?
The results will start filtering into the Lancaster County Elections Office a short time after the polls close at 8 p.m. Check LancasterOnline for live coverage and breaking news throughout the day and evening.
However, due to the large amount of mail-in ballots, final results may not be available until days after the Tuesday election.
What are the voting hours?
Polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Races to watch
Rep. Brett Miller and Rep. Brad Witmer, for incumbent Miller's state House seat
Brad Witmer, who previously attempted to run for the 41st state House District seat in 2018 and former U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts’ seat in 2016, is challenging Miller for a second time in the hopes of representing the Penn Manor and Hempfield school district areas in the state House.
Miller has represented the district since 2015. He previously served as an East Hempfield township supervisor and as a public school guidance counselor for 26 years, according to his campaign website. He’s spent his time in the legislature focusing on pension reform and fiscal responsibility, he said.
Miller received the endorsement from the Republican Committee of Lancaster County. During the January endorsement convention, no one in the party nominated Witmer to be considered for an endorsement.
Dem. Paul Daigle and Dem. Sarah Hammond, for Lloyd Smucker's Congressional seat
After the greatest organizing and fundraising efforts for a Lancaster County Democrat still fell short in 2018 by 18% points, candidates looking to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker in November asked themselves: Who will pick up where Jess King left off?
The two candidates trying to make their case that they’re best fit to do so are Paul Daigle, 44, the student employment supervisor at Franklin & Marshall College; and Sarah Hammond, 27, a field hockey coach at Hanover Senior High School.
Daigle said he was motivated to run after he saw that King and other popular county Democrats declined to join the race for the congressional seat to represent Lancaster and southern York counties. He had other concerns about Hammond's electability, he added.
Daigle and Hammond differ on a few policies; Hammond supports abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, while Daigle thinks such a move would alienate Democrats and Republicans. Hammond is pro-choice and Daigle is pro-life (but abides by King's language, saying that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare."). Both candidates support Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
Dem. Janet Diaz and Dem. Craig Lehman, for State Sen. Scott Martin (R. Martic Township)'s seat
Lehman has been a county commissioner for 13 years, and previously a state House of Representatives budget analyst for 15 years. Diaz has been involved in state politics since 2015, and began her first term in city council in 2018.
“We need representation,” Diaz said. “We need a woman Latina, which has never been elected [to state Senate] in the history of Pennsylvania.”
Diaz is a health care worker at Lancaster General Health who documents the care of stroke patients. Because of her 18 years in the medical field, she said she supports innovative solutions other states have used to improve their health care systems and that those changes are necessary in Pennsylvania.
Lehman’s top priority following the COVID-19 pandemic will be fiscal affairs and budgeting to address the projected $4 billion state revenue shortfall.
“I’m not afraid to speak out. I’m not afraid, if I have concerns within my own party, I have no problem standing up for the folks I represent and I hope that’s what folks see when they look at my [platform],” Lehman said.
Gillian McGoldrick, Sam Janesch and Carter Walker contributed to this report.