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Election, license requirements impacted by COVID-19

State election officials say the wheels of democracy continue to turn even in incredible times such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kathy Boockvar, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of State, said moving the state primary election from April 28 to June 2 will allow the process to continue.

“We think this provides flexibility for counties and improves election reform” and adheres to rules of social distancing in place until at least April 30, she said in a teleconference this week.

Besides moving back the primary election, the changes include county election officials tabulating mail-in ballots starting at 7 a.m. on the day of the election instead of waiting until the polls close at night, she said.

The big change is the mail-in ballot and absentee ballot opportunities for voters, she said.

Presently, she said, the state has 250,000 registered voters prepared to mail in their ballots.

A majority, some 78 percent, have prepared for that process by using the state Department of State website and filing an online application, she said.

“Once you apply, there is no need to reapply,” Boockvar said.

Another part of the discussion included the state relaxing professional licensing for healthcare workers.

In light of the pandemic causing delays by isolating at homes, two dozen temporary waivers are available for state board and licensing requirements, she said.

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