Breaking News
More () »

Ballot drop box permanently removed in Lancaster County

After a judge’s ruling forced the county to temporarily reinstall the county’s only drop box, the Board of Elections has voted to remove it for good.

LANCASTER, Pa. — Lancaster County's one and only ballot drop box is no more.

On Monday, the Republican majority on the county's Board of Elections voted to permanently remove the box, just one day before the primary election.

“It’s very important people have faith that ballot is getting from the person who’s the voter to the person who ultimately is going to count that ballot," said Lancaster County Commissioner, Ray D'Agostino.

The decision comes after the county was sued by the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

The group claimed the board violated the Sunshine Act when previously deciding to remove the drop box.

Monday's final vote was made in front of a packed room of residents expressing both support and outrage over the decision.

“I won’t come up here with the presumption that it’s your goal to disenfranchise voters -- I think better of you than that -- but I think you need to be aware there are thousands of your constituents, some Democrat, some Republican, white, black, working class, who see this as exactly that," Ismail Smith Wade-El, president of Lancaster City Council, said to Republican commissioners Josh Parsons and D'Agostino.

“We have absentee ballots, we have mail-in ballots…the idea that going to your mailbox is less convenient than going downtown, paying $2.50 for an hour to park, that that’s the most convenient way to vote, is ridiculous," said Terry Christopher of East Earl Township.

Parsons and D'Agostino say while the box may provide convenience, it does so at the cost of integrity.

“It happens quite often," said D'Agostino. "When I was down at the Board of Elections office there were quite a few people who were bringing someone else’s ballot other than their own so it’s obvious people aren’t aware that’s not legal.”

Those in favor of the drop box argue it's imperative for many to be able to vote.

“If we haven’t got that sacred right to vote as easily as possible and as safely as possible what’s the point?" asked Jane Miller of Lancaster City. "Where is our democracy headed if that’s not the most important thing that we have to consider?"

Miller says she's not seeing evidence of security concerns which commissioners are citing as reason for removing it.

“And I’m open to a conversation about why it should be removed but I haven’t heard anyone give me a good reason why," said Miller.

“We’re simply saying if people want to have other types of voting then the Legislature needs to amend the Constitution and think about the things we’re talking about," said D'Agostino.

In the resolution which was passed on Monday, the Board of Elections is also calling on the Pennsylvania state legislature to repeal Act 77 and get rid of mail-in voting completely. 

Commissioner John Trescot, the lone Democrat on the board, has publicly opposed removal of the drop box.

He was absent from Monday's meeting due to a planned out-of-country trip. 

Download the FOX43 app here.

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out