Ahead of primary election, PA counties take precautions regarding ballot drop boxes

"In order to ensure that individuals are only dropping off one ballot, the best way we can do that is to have a county employee and a sheriff's deputy standing by the box," York County President Commissioner Julie Wheeler said.

Updated: May 5, 2022 - 4:08pm

As Pennsylvania's May 17 primary election nears, more counties are taking precautions with regard to drop boxes for absentee ballots to prevent voters from dropping off multiple ballots.

In York County, voters can return their absentee ballots to the drop box during three days of curbside events for the primary.

York County President Commissioner Julie Wheeler told The York Dispatch that the reason for limiting the times for dropping off ballots is to ensure that no one is returning multiple ballots.

It is illegal in Pennsylvania to return someone else's ballot, unless a disabled voter designates in writing to have someone else drop off their ballot. Violators can face up to a $2,500 fine and/or up to two years in prison upon conviction.

"In order to ensure that individuals are only dropping off one ballot, the best way we can do that is to have a county employee and a sheriff's deputy standing by the box," Wheeler said.

Voters will be able to drop off their ballots during the curbside events at the York County Administrative Center on May 7 and May 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on the primary election day, May 17, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. They are also able to still drop off ballots at the office of York County Elections in the administrative center.

Wheeler said that the county didn't have the resources to have an employee monitor the drop box all day, every day.

"At the end of the day, we need to ensure the security of those ballots and the integrity of those ballots," she added.

In Lehigh County, the district attorney said that county detectives will monitor "from time to time" surveillance video of drop box locations during the primary election so that "any persons identified as depositing more that one ballot envelope may be prosecuted and face the penalties set forth in the Election Code."

Commissioners in Lancaster County completely removed the drop box for absentee ballots, also noting concerns of voters dropping off more than one ballot, according to LancasterOnline.