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Lackawanna County prepares for primary election

34,000 voters have mailed in a ballot.

SCRANTON, Pa. — Lackawanna County has received more than 34,000 mail-in or absentee ballots ahead of Tuesday's election.

That's slightly more than half of all the votes cast in the county in the last presidential primary in 2016.

If you are planning to vote in person on Tuesday, you'll notice some changes there, too.

The Lackawanna County Department of Elections has had a very busy few weeks.

The county had to call in extra staff to sort the unprecedented amount of mail-in and absentee ballots for the primary election.

There are about 30,000 more mail-in ballots than they're used to counting. 

Workers were busy Monday sorting those ballots in the elections office at the Lackawanna County Government Center in Scranton.

In the center's lobby, you could see the other effects coronavirus has had on this year's election.

Judges of elections were provided with the usual supplies, but also plenty of sanitizer, gloves, and masks.

"They provided us tape so that we can use social distancing of six foot. Hopefully, people will abide by that. There's a sheriff to enforce it, "said John Foley, a judge of elections in Scranton.

Masks are not required for people voting in person, but Lackawanna County officials are asking people to wear them to protect poll workers. 

"Concerns might be that people will arrive without masks, I cannot require them to wear masks, that's a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issue," Foley added.

Judges of elections are expecting a slower day at the polls Tuesday, much slower than a presidential primary normally would be.

But they're strongly encouraging people to come out and vote, saying there are plenty of safety measures in place. 

"If they want to bring their own ink pen to fill out the ballots, that's not a problem. Wear gloves, and we're taking all the precautions that we possibly can," said Lackawanna County Director of Elections Marion Medalis.

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