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Election 2021

Vote-by-mail remains popular with Cumberland County electorate

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Election Signs 1

Political signs for the upcoming primary line Garland Drive in Carlisle Wednesday.

Vote by mail in Pennsylvania ends Nov. 3. Be sure you know what to do with your ballot before submitting it.

Vote-by-mail appears to remain popular in Cumberland County for the upcoming 2021 primary, possibly indicating that vote-by-mail could continue to be a common practice even after the COVID-19 pandemic draws to a close.

The county’s bureau of elections reported late last week that over 12,000 applications for mail-in and absentee ballots had been received. The deadline to apply is May 11 for the May 18 primary.

Over 40,000 applications for mail-in ballots had been sent out automatically to voters who had opted to receive an application for every election.

Odd-year elections are typically low-turnout, especially for the primary; both the May 2017 and May 2019 contests saw less than 20 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

But this was at a time when absentee ballots, which require a reason for absence, were the only vote-by-mail option; in late 2019, the passage of Act 77 created a no-excuse application for mail-in voting.

Cumberland County has 182,067 registered voters as of this week, according to Pennsylvania Department of State data.

If all of the 12,000-plus voters who have already requested a vote-by-mail ballot return their ballot, this would constitute 7 percent turnout by itself, or roughly a third of the usual odd-year primary turnout.

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