Philadelphia could soon have 17 new early voting locations; as concerns over secrecy envelopes are raised

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With 42 days to go until Election Day, some young voters in Philadelphia know how they'll be casting their ballot.

"I definitely want to vote in person," said voter Jeynaba.

Others, however, remain undecided.

"I personally am still deciding on if I want to do a mail-in vote or go somewhere," added Lauren Wensel.

For those looking to vote early, as many Pennsylvanians are expected to do, more options to aid in the access of completing and submitting a ballot may soon be on the table.

"It's the first time we are doing this. It is going to take a lot of manpower," said Philadelphia City Commissioner Chairwoman Lisa Deeley.

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Deeley has proposed a plan to open 17 satellite election offices around the city paid for by a non-partisan grant.

A vote on the proposal is expected this Wednesday.
The locations would cover a lot of ground, would be open seven days a week, and would allow voters to register to vote, request and receive mail-in ballots as well as drop them off.

"We're looking forward to a great opportunity for Philadelphia voters who may feel a little apprehension about the mail or for whatever reason," Deely added.

David Thornburg with the non-partisan election watchdog organization, Committee of Seventy, says if it seems there are more options for voting now than ever before that's not a coincidence.

"These are positive developments and all in the interest of making voting and your vote count," Thornburg said. "Pennsylvania has been behind the times to tell you the truth. I mean, most of our election code was written in 1937, and a lot of things have changed since 1937."

Mail-in voting: All you need to know ahead of Election Day 2020

One change not sitting as well with some: The use of secrecy envelopes to submit a mail-in ballot.

"That envelope is just a piece of confusion," Deeley said.

The state's high court recently ruling that ballots mailed in without that extra layer- aka 'naked ballots' - would be discarded.

Deeley, in a second attempt, has written to state leaders in the hopes of trying make sure they are counted.

"We want to make sure that everybody that wants their vote counted has an opportunity to have their vote counted," Deeley said.
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