PHILADELPHIA — The City of Philadelphia and Philadelphia County Board of Elections today shared additional information around COVID-19 safety precautions, post-election procedures, and more to help residents prepare for Election Day on Tuesday, November 3.

COVID-19 Safety at Polling Places: The COVID-19 safety precautions released for polling places on Election Day are consistent with those established by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health for other activities.

  • Poll workers will self-screen for symptoms and are required to wear masks or use other barrier protection at all times.
  • Poll watchers must wear masks at all times and may be refused entry to polling places if not masked.
  • Voters should wear masks while waiting in line and while in the polling place.
  • Voters will be provided with disposable gloves and advised to only touch any shared items, like pens and the voting machines, while using the gloves.
  • Voters will be reminded to stay at least six feet from others while standing in line and while in the polling place; and voters are encouraged to remain in the polling place for the shortest amount of time needed to vote.
  • Voters who advise of symptoms and ask about an alternative means of voting will be advised on the process of obtaining and using an emergency absentee ballot.

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said, “Voting is one of the most important activities that Philadelphians can do, and we have worked with the City Commissioners to ensure that every registered voter in Philadelphia can cast their vote and exercise their most important rights in the safest manner. And remember: wear your mask, wear your mask, wear your mask.”

“We are confident that these plans and precautions will help to ensure the safety of all voters,” said Lisa Deeley, chair of the City Commissioners. “But we need everyone’s help next Tuesday in observing these restrictions. I thank Dr. Farley and the entire Department of Public Health for their guidance, and I particularly thank the thousands of Philadelphia residents who will be manning the polls Tuesday.  Their willingness to do so in the midst of a pandemic is admirable. We could not do this without them.”

Post-Election Procedures: For the November 3, 2020 General Election, the Board of Elections has received a large number of absentee and mail-in ballots. In order to efficiently process these ballots, the Board has approved detailed procedures to complete the absentee and mail-in ballot pre-canvas and canvass, as well as voting machine ballot canvass in accordance with the Election Code. Covered procedures include instructions for:

  • Absentee and mail-in ballot receipt and sorting
  • Absentee and mail-in ballot pre-canvas and canvass procedures
  • Voting machine pre-canvass ballot procedures
  • Pre-canvas and canvass observers

Among the detailed procedures is an anticipated timeline for the posting of results. Results shall be uploaded to To the best of their ability, the staff shall post results of absentee and mail-in ballots scanned on Election Day with the first results posted after polls close at 8 p.m. and after the last voting machine results of the night. To the best of their ability, the staff shall post absentee and mail-in ballot results on November 4 between 9:30 a.m. – 10 a.m., 3:30 p.m. – 4 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. To the best of their ability, the staff shall on subsequent days posts results at least twice daily at times determined by the Deputy City Commissioners.

The complete post-election procedures can be viewed here. Additional procedures were developed and approved for absentee and mail-in ballot/application challenges; view them here.

General Tips for Residents: The City has also published an “Election Day Guide” blog post to help voters navigate the 2020 election—which will feel a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The blog includes actions to take before leaving to vote, what to expect at the polls, how to return mail-in ballots, instructions for reporting, and instructions for reporting election concerns.