YORK, Pa. — Less than two weeks before Pennsylvania's primary elections, York County just removed its one and only mail-in ballot drop box. Officials say they made the decision due to staffing shortages.
"Previously, we did have a drop box in the lobby here but we unfortunately don't have the staff to monitor that, and so we're unable to have one in the lobby," said Julie Wheeler, the York County President Commissioner.
Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman says the decision to have drop boxes is ultimately up to each county.
"I am aware that York County is no longer providing drop boxes," said Chapman. "The Department [of State] does support drop boxes, [and] we support voters having accessible options to return their ballots in all means."
However, Wheeler says voters do have options. They can still drop off their mail-in ballots outside of the York County administrative building on three separate days.
"We're having [a] drive-up service. That's been something that's been received favorably from our voters," Wheeler said.
To ensure that voters are dropping off only one ballot, Wheeler says the drop box will be staffed by a sheriff's deputy and a county employee.
However, some locals like Mirna Gonzalez say this drive-up service can still be a barrier to some voters.
"Many people's schedules are overdue after the office hours. That's one of the issues," Gonzalez said. "Another issue is that people that don't have a way to transport themselves to drop it off."
Gonzalez, who is originally from El Salvador but now lives in central Pa., also says most of the information the elections office sends to voters is in English.
"For those that are like me, for example, my first language is Spanish and it's kind of difficult," she explained.
So far, Wheeler says officials have sent out about 22,000 mail-in ballots so far.
Gonzalez, who is registered to vote by mail, hopes the county does more to provide more access for voters.