Lancaster County voters will be able to cast their mail-in or absentee ballots via a drop box at the Lancaster County Government building, county officials announced Wednesday.
The county Board of Elections initially said no drop boxes would be used for the Nov. 3 election, but reconsidered following a state Supreme Court ruling issued last week that permits counties to install drop boxes in multiple, convenient locations.
Some counties, including Philadelphia and Allegheny, are planning to open satellite election offices where a voter can drop off a ballot or request help in filling it out.
Lancaster’s board said it decided not to implement drop boxes around the county, citing logistical concerns given the time remaining before the election.
But a single ballot drop box will be available in the first floor lobby of the county government building at 150 N. Queen St., as was done for the June primary.
Starting Oct. 3, voters can drop off ballots Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Extended hours are also planned for a handful of dates just head of Election Day:
On Wednesday, Oct. 28, Thursday, Oct. 29 and Monday Nov. 2, the lobby will be open until 8:00 p.m.
On Saturday, Oct. 31, the lobby will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.,
On Election Day, Nov. 3, the lobby and the elections office will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
An LNP | LancasterOnline experiment has confirmed what election and postal officials have been advising:
County election director Randall Wenger said last week that 80,000 mail-in ballots will be distributed before Oct. 1 to voters who requested them. The deadline for applying for a mail-in ballot is Oct. 27. The last day to register to vote is Oct. 19.
Pennsylvania law says a ballot can only be dropped off by the registered voter it belongs to. Ballots can also be mailed, and county officials are urging voters to put them in the mail as soon as possible once voters start receiving them.
Voters are also reminded to carefully follow the instructions for submitting a mail-in ballot. Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that “naked ballots,” those returned to a county board of elections without being placed in the secrecy envelope, will not be counted.
In the June primary, there were total of 3,284 such ballots in Lancaster County, which the Board of Elections at the time ruled would be counted.