I voted by mail in the primary election this year. It was easy, efficient and very safe and reminded me of the days before electronic voting. I could take my time with the ballot and research each candidate before casting my vote.

County election offices do a great job making sure the ballot is safe and secure. I requested a ballot from the county on a form that required me to furnish my name, address, drivers license or the last four digits of my social security number as well as my signature. When I mailed my application to the county elections office they verified my signature, assured I was a registered voter and checked the state health department to verify I had not died prior to voting. I cast my vote using two special envelopes that were bar-coded to my specific ballot request, so the election officials could track my ballot and verify the ballot matched the mailed envelope to assure it was returned securely. Once returned the voter list was updated so my precinct workers would know I had already voted and kept me from casting a second ballot on election day. I felt my paper ballot was much more secure than the electronic record of the past that could be tampered with electronically.

I plan on voting by mail in the general election in November because it is safe, convenient, and secure. I will vote as soon as I get my ballot and have confidence the postal service will deliver it on time. I can even check back with the county election office to make sure it has been received if I want.

I know some voters have concerns about voting in person because of COVID-19, especially the elderly. Many of us have friends and family members who have died. If you vote in person you know most of the poll workers are also elderly and high risk. With the minimal pay they receive you could consider these workers as civic-minded volunteers. Please be respectful if you vote in person and wear a mask, for your safety and the safety of the poll workers. They will be wearing their masks and taking precautions to protect you.

The Pennsylvania state Legislature passed the Election Reform Act in October 2019, well before COVID-19. It was a bipartisan effort with nearly every member of the state Legislature voting in support. A quote at the time from PA House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler, a Republican: “The bill was not written to benefit one party or the other, or any one candidate or single election. It was developed over a multi-year period, with input from people of different backgrounds and regions of Pennsylvania. It serves to preserve the integrity of every election and lift the voice of every voter in the commonwealth.”

Everyone still has the option to vote in person on Election Day. Voting by mail is a safe and secure option and especially convenient now during the pandemic. Do not let anyone confuse or scare you into not voting.

Don Wilver Sr. lives in New Columbia.

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