Last look at Pa.'s primary election as polls open

Polls open at 7 a.m. today and close at 8 p.m. 

HARRISBURG — Election Day for Pennsylvania’s midterm primaries is here.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. All mail-in and civilian absentee ballots must be returned to local election offices before 8 p.m. Military and overseas ballots are due May 24.

Democrats and Republicans will choose their respective party’s nominees for a bevy of regional and statewide races: governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. Senate, state House and Senate and party committee leaders.

A combined 910,488 mail-in and absentee ballots were provided to voters on request, with nearly half returned as of the middle of last week. Of them, 695,351 went to Democrats, 208,443 to Republicans, 6,694 to other voters.

Election officials aren’t permitted to open and count ballots until polls open on Election Day. State election officials expect this could delay results in some counties beyond election night.

Many races are competitive, particularly in the statewide races.

There are nine Republicans on the ballot for governor led by state Sen. Doug Mastriano, Bill McSwain, Lou Barletta and Dave White. Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman and Melissa Hart are on the ballot, too, but are asking voters to support Barletta.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro is the lone Democrat running for governor.

The winners will vie to succeed Gov. Tom Wolf, who’s term-limited.

The Republican field is crowded in the Senate race, too. There are seven competitors on the ballot looking to retain the seat of outgoing U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey. Kathy Barnette worked her way from a long-shot to a neck-and-neck position with leading candidates Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick.

Among Democrats, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman faces U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and Alex Khalil. Fetterman suffered a stroke Friday and, according to his campaign, is expected to make a full recovery.

Nine Republicans and three Democrats are on the ballots in the competition to succeed Fetterman as lieutenant governor.

Half of Pennsylvania’s 50 state Senate seats are up for election. A combined 10 races are contested across both parties. Five races have no incumbent competing.

Each of Pennsylvania’s 203 state House seats are also up for election. There are 69 contested races across both parties. In 36 districts, there is no incumbent seeking re-election. However, in three races, incumbents are competing against each other due to legislative lines being redrawn in the redistricting process.

The primaries are closed to registered voters of the respective parties. Independent voters can only cast a ballot in limited instances this year where there is a special election or local ballot question.

Electors with vote-by-mail ballots are encouraged to return them in person at this point either at a county election office or, where in the 22 counties that authorized them, an official ballot dropbox. Do not return vote-by-mail ballots at polling precincts. The standard delivery estimate for election mail was three days.

Voters must return only their own ballots or risk violating election code. Persons with disabilities can submit an official form with their ballot that authorizes someone else to drop it off on their behalf.

Voters who received a mail ballot but didn’t complete it can surrender the unused mail ballot, along with both envelopes, at their polling place and vote a regular ballot. Provisional ballots are also available at precincts for those who applied for a mail ballot but didn’t receive one.

For detailed information on dropbox and election board office locations, polling locations, third-party delivery authorization forms, emergency absentee ballots and more, visit vote.pa.gov or call a local election board.

Photo identification is only required at the polls for those casting a ballot at a specific precinct for the first time.

Registration for the primary is closed. Eligible voters who aren’t registered can do so beginning Wednesday ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.

Track the status of a mail ballot at pavoterservices.pa.gov. Follow election night returns with live updates at electionreturns.pa.gov. Check county websites for updates on regional races.

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