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'We Are All Americans, We Should All Be Treated As Such': Some Voters Concerned About Changes Ahead Of Pa.'s Fast-Approaching Primary Election

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Primary Election Day in Pennsylvania is a little over a week away.

Voting this year will be far different than ever before, due to COVID restrictions.

While Allegheny County election officials are working with new social distancing guidelines and a shortage of poll workers, many are concerned they may not be able to vote at all.

Mail-in ballots that still haven't been received, transportation and accessibility are among a list of problems for some city residents who want to participate in the fast-approaching primary.

"We can't go to war with others to create a democratic process and help others create a democratic process when our system itself is failing itself right now," said Roy Blankenship, a member of Knoxville's Community Council.

Blankenship calls the eleven neighborhoods that make up the "Hilltop" communities a mini-America, racially diverse, people of all ages who get involved.

"We're a little concerned a lot of people aren't going to make it out to vote," Blankenship tells KDKA News.

And that's because many here say because of the COVID restrictions, a lack of polling places open and longer rides to sites that will be open, there are just too many obstacles.

"Our liberties and our rights have been taken away from us," said Donna Williams, Chair of the Zone 3 Public Safety Community Council.


When Governor Wolf rescheduled the state's primary election from April 28 to June 2nd due to the COVID emergency, voters were given the option to use a mail-in ballot because many polling places would be closed.

For voters like Joni Oliver of Carrick, who is a caregiver to a senior with health conditions, these are big obstacles.

"To get home into the car, to get him out and bring him to wherever he needs to go, he can't stand for very long," said Oliver.

And then there are the mail-in ballots that haven't been received and the clock is ticking with the primary eight days away.

"They said they were going to send a postcard to us, I haven't received the postcard," said Williams.

"Just because you reach a certain age don't mean you don't care about the world, about what's going on on your community," Peggy Snodgrass of Carrick shared with KDKA News.

She and many seniors who haven't received their mail-in ballots will try to make it out for the primary, but what was once a short walk to a neighborhood polling place will now be a longer bus ride with masks, so the democratic process they feel strongly about, isn't taken away.

Blankenship says, "They should be cognizant if those who do have and those that don't have and we are Americans, and we should all be treated as such."

Many in the Hilltop communities KDKA's Pam Surano spoke to plan on contacting county election officials tomorrow to try and get an extension for mail-in ballots.

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