It may feel as if the furor of last year’s presidential race is just dying down, but another election is around the corner.
Preparations are well underway for the May 18 primary, when Philadelphia voters will be able to cast their ballots for district attorney and various judicial positions.
The most closely-watched race involves District Attorney Larry Krasner, who, in his bid for reelection, is being challenged in the Democratic primary by longtime prosecutor Carlos Vega.
Nearly 64,000 ballots were shipped out Monday to residents around the city who applied to vote by mail, according to Nick Custodio, of the City Commissioners Office, which oversees elections in Philadelphia.
On Tuesday, 14 drop boxes will open, most at recreation centers, for people to submit their completed mail-in ballots.
Voting by mail rose in importance during the 2020 primary, thanks to pandemic fears and a new state law allowing no-excuse absentee voting. It became a topic of controversy when then-President Donald Trump and some of his allies spread misinformation about the process.
About 638,000 people across Pennsylvania have requested mail-in ballots for next month’s election, state officials said.
Residents have two weeks, or until May 3, to register for the primary, and May 11 is the last day to apply for a mail-in ballot.
“Now is the time to make sure you are registered to vote, and your registration information is current,” said Veronica Degraffenreid, Pennsylvania’s acting secretary of state, in a statement Monday.
At Room 140 at City Hall, registered voters can request a mail-in ballot, fill it out and return it in one visit. Election officials set up a similar early voting system during November’s presidential election.
The City Hall voting center, which opened Monday, will operate from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to the City Commissioner’s Office.
Anyone who previously requested a mail-in ballot for the May primary cannot ask for a replacement at the site until April 27, officials said.
Drop boxes will be placed at the following locations:
City Hall on the South Broad apron
Riverview Place, 520 N. Columbus Blvd. in Old City
Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Ave. in Fairmount
Markward Playground, 400 S. Taney St. in Center City
Pelbano Recreation Center, 8101 Bustleton Ave. in Rhawnhurst
Ford PAL Recreation Center, 609 Snyder Ave. in South Philadelphia
Vogt Recreation Center, 4131 Unruh Ave. in Tacony
Independence Branch Library, 18 S. 7th St. in Center City
Dorothy Emmanuel Recreation Center, 8500 Pickering St. in Northwest Philadelphia
Pleasant Playground, 305 Slocum St. in East Mount Airy
Chalfont Playground, 4382 Deerpath Lane in the Far Northeast
Stenton Playground, 4600 N. 16th Street in Logan
All of the sites will be available 24 hours a day. Voters must drop off their own ballots, unless they have filled out paperwork specifically designating another person as a courier.