Citing coronavirus concerns, Philadelphia election officials want state primary postponed

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia election officials want the primary election postponed for at least a month, in light of the risks and restrictions related to the novel coronavirus. 

City Commissioners Chair Lisa Deeley says there were already numerous factors working against an in-person election on April 28, such as the fact that the elderly — the vast majority of poll workers and the largest block of voters — are most at risk of the coronavirus.

There were also the social distancing measures that shut down the Commission's City Hall offices and forced the cancellation of poll worker training. 

Then, the governor ordered the shutdown of non-life-sustaining businesses, including those that serve as polling places.

“In addition to our schools being closed and nursing homes and churches, now we are faced with even less opportunities for polling locations,” Deeley said.  

Deeley believes Gov. Wolf could change the date, since the virus represents an emergency, but the governor says he's trying to work with the legislature on the issue.

“We are a democracy and we're working together here,” she added. 

Deeley says time is running to get poll workers trained on new voting machines and to let voters know if they should be requesting mail-in ballots, which take time and staff to process.