HARRISBURG – While recognizing that the COVID-19 virus is requiring people to make many sacrifices in their day-to-day lives, Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) announced today the special elections for the 8th, 18th and 58th legislative districts scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, will be held as scheduled.
“The impact of the COVID-19 virus is being felt by all of us, and I applaud the statewide efforts to practice social distancing and increased disinfecting in public spaces. These same practices will be in place on election day, but they do not require the rescheduling of the special elections,” Turzai said. “When you consider that absentee ballots have already been applied for and returned, these elections are already underway.”
Turzai consulted with House Parliamentarian Clancy Myer in reaching this conclusion. In this letter
, the parliamentarian explains his concerns for changing the date, including increased confusion for voters and disenfranchising absentee voters, including members of the military, who would have to re-apply for absentee status.
“I believe it is not only not advisable but also counterproductive to issue a new writ of election establishing an election date later this spring.” Myer said.
“In the 18th district, the Bucks County Board of Elections is prepared to sanitize the space and protect voters as much as possible, in the same manner grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses are doing at this time,” Turzai said. “Voters are encouraged to bring their own blue or black ball point pens. These are smart moves to protect the public while also encouraging this important act of democracy to continue without delay.”
“The voters of the 8th, 18th and 58th legislative districts deserve to be represented in these trying times just as much as any other Pennsylvanian. I look forward to fair and accurate elections, so the voices of all Pennsylvanians can be represented in the hall of our chamber in the months ahead.”
Speaker of the House Mike Turzai
Pennsylvania House of Representatives