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Blair begins mailing ballots

County moving eight voting locations for upcoming primary

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Blair County started mailing ballots Monday to 5,558 county residents who sought to vote by mail in the May 18 primary.

The option, embraced last year by about 16,000 county voters interested in avoiding COVID-19 risks and in casting ballots in the hotly contested presidential race, is attracting some interest this year for the upcoming primary. That’s when Republican and Democratic voters will select candidates for state judicial, county, municipal and school board posts, and when all registered voters can weigh in on four statewide ballot questions.

Blair County mailed letters in February to about 15,000 registered voters who last year indicated an interest in receiving future applications to vote by mail, Director of Elections Sarah Seymour told the elections board at its recent meeting.

The voters who responded to the county’s February’s letter by returning applications for mail-in and absentee ballots are the ones who should be watching this week’s mail for their ballots.

Voters who want to vote by mail May 18 have until 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, to file an application for a mail-in or absentee ballot with the county elections office.

Application forms are available online at www.votespa.com. Those who encounter difficulty accessing forms can contact the county elections office at 814-693-3150 for assistance.

Once an application is filed and a ballot is issued, it’s up to a voter to turn in a voted ballot to the county elections office no later than 8 p.m. May 18.

In preparation for the May 18 primary, the county elections board has approved plans to move eight voting locations, including three because of the ongoing pandemic.

Other changes reflect a lack of availability and/or suitable alternative sites.

Seymour said all changes were posted for five days at the polling locations prior to the election board’s vote. Large signs will be posted at the former locations on May 18 to help voters know of their new polls sites.

Changes approved by the elections board are:

– Altoona 4th Ward, 1st Precinct — From Altoona Area High School auditorium to Center City Church, 801 Pleasant Valley Blvd. (Permanent change).

– Altoona 6th Ward, 1st Precinct — From the Altoona Area Public Library to Providence Presbyterian Church, 2401 Broad Ave. (Temporary change).

– Allegheny Township, District 1 — From Meadow’s Plaza to Carson Valley Church of the Brethren, 122 Church Road, Duncansville. (Permanent change).

– Freedom Township, District 1 — From Blue Knob Airport to Freedom Township Volunteer Fire Company, 139 Municipal St., East Freedom. (Permanent change).

– Hollidaysburg Borough, Ward 5 — From The Lutheran Home at Hollidaysburg to the Blair Regional YMCA, 1111 Hewit St., Hollidaysburg. (Temporary change).

– Logan Township, District 4 — From Greenwood United Methodist Church to Greenwood Fire Hall, 1500 E. Pleasant Valley Blvd., Altoona. (Permanent change).

– North Woodbury Township — From Homewood at Martinsburg to Rural Valley Electric Cooperative, 2585 Cove Mountain Road, Martinsburg. (Temporary change).

– Tyrone Borough, Ward 2 — From Epworth Manor to Church of the Good Shepherd, 1650 Clay Ave., Tyrone. (Temporary change).

Seymour also told the elections board that new voter registration cards will be issued to voters whose voting locations are permanently changed.

Commissioner Amy Webster chairs the county’s Board of Elections. Commissioner Laura Burke serves the board’s vice chairman and Commissioner Bruce Erb serves as secretary.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 814-946-7456.

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