*Updated at 6:39 p.m. to include list of counties
Speaking to reporters outside state Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald’s office in Philadelphia Monday evening, Gov. Tom Wolf said that mail-in ballots will now be accepted through next Tuesday, June 9 at 8 p.m. for six counties, including Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.
Wolf cited COVID-19 concerns and continued protests as his reason for extending that deadline. The polls open Tuesday at 7 a.m. in Pennsylvania’s rescheduled primary election, though a flood of mail-in ballots is expected.
“The count will continue for seven days,” Wolf said.
Wolf said he “didn’t know what impacts the continued protests would have on the primary elections..
Touring the city with U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-3rd District, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Fitzgerald, Wolf said he saw “a lot of sad scenes.”
The state and local leaders visited storefronts that had been vandalized by violent protesters.
While Wolf expressed support for the protests, he said the violence needs to de-escalate.
“We need to do a lot more,” Wolf said. “What’s not called for is the violence afterward.”
Philadelphia is expected to transition to the yellow phase of Wolf’s COVID-19 reopening plan on Friday, June 5.
Earlier Monday, state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said there were no plans to change that date.
Keeping his comments short, Wolf said, addressing systemic racism and oppression was part of why he “ran for this office.”
“In Harrisburg, we need to dedicate ourselves to addressing racism and oppression in Pennsylvania,” Wolf said. “We have to rededicate ourselves to addressing these issues.”