Allegheny County plans more pandemic voting options

College students could do more to contain spread, and there will be no fans in the stands for the state’s NFL games, per the state health secretary.
by PublicSource Reporters
The Allegheny County Board of Elections will host a virtual meeting Thursday at 2 p.m. to review plans for the 2020 Presidential Election in light of the ongoing pandemic.During the meeting, the Elections Division will present a plan to the board recommending 10 additional offices only open on certain Saturdays and Sundays in October approaching the November 3 election. The proposal is meant to ensure voters have additional safe and accessible options to vote over-the-counter or return completed ballots they receive by mail.

Elections Division Manager Dave Voye wrote in a Friday press release that the office has spent the months following the June elections confirming polling locations, training poll workers, and taking additional measures to further strengthen the “integrity of the election system.”

“We have also heard clearly that voters remain concerned about COVID and their own health and welfare,” he wrote. “With that in mind, we have worked on this proposed plan, consistent with guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of State, that will provide additional options for voters to engage in the democratic process.”

The Allegheny County Health Department [ACHD] reported 100 new COVID-19 infections Friday and two new COVID-related fatalities. The newly reported cases bring the total count since March 14 to 11,069 infections.

The case tally released Friday came from 1,134 tests conducted from Aug. 24 through Sept. 10. The new infections were among patients 4 months to 94 years, with the median age being 21. Of the new cases, 80% were in people younger than 50.

To date, the county has had 360 deaths and 1,053 people hospitalized because of the virus.

State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Friday that the Department of Health and the Department of Education are working closely with superintendents, school boards, and other school authorities to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff as schools reopen.

She noted the most significant recent increases in case counts have been within the 19 to 24 year age group, predominantly, though not exclusively, in college and university settings.

“Of course, those colleges and universities are all in communities, and they are in counties and they impact those communities and counties in terms of the spread of this virus,” Levine said.

Levine partially attributed the case increases to parties and other large social gatherings among young adults and their failure to wear masks, wash hands, and abide by social distancing guidelines.

“I know that the colleges and universities are working with their students, in terms of all of that, and emphasizing the same things that I emphasize every day,” Levine said. “You have to work with the young people and empower them to make the right decisions.”

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Allegheny County plans more pandemic voting options

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