PA GOP lawmakers move to ban ballot drop boxes

Democrats say this is just another example of Republicans trying to disenfranchise voters.
Local activists with Bucks Voices support ballot drop boxes.

The Republican-controlled Pennsylvania State Senate approved legislation earlier this month seeking to eliminate the use of ballot drop boxes for absentee and mail-in voters. 

“Instead of continuing to pursue conspiracy theories and new ways to disenfranchise Pennsylvania voters, Senate Republicans should refocus their efforts on bipartisan ways we can continue to fund elections and modernize our election system,” said Beth Rementer, Governor Tom Wolf’s spokeswoman. 

Republican Senator Cris Dush shared a video at a Committee hearing in March of an individual allegedly dropping multiple mail ballots into a dropbox. Dush raised concerns about ballot harvesting. 

“There is no way to secure those ballots and prevent ballot harvesting and that’s the intent of this bill,” said Dush.

However, Democrats argued “drop boxes as more secure than mailboxes, citing camera surveillance, legal ramifications for tampering with them, and a clear chain of custody.”

“We’re here today because a handful of unsworn witnesses at a hastily convened committee meeting — who were, by the way, partisan witnesses — came out and alleged that there was some issue with drop boxes without providing any proof that would ever stand in a court of law,” Bucks County State Senator Steven Santasiero said at the hearing. 

Meanwhile, critics of the bill continue to weigh in on the ramifications of the law, saying it will restrict voters’ accessibility.

“To the extent that there is any public confusion about the requirement under state law that individuals return their own ballots given the newness of widespread mail-in voting, the governor would welcome a conversation with Republican leaders about funding an educational campaign about these requirements,” Rementer said.

The governor hasn’t indicated yet whether he would veto the legislation.

Jocelyn B. Pappas

Jocelyn B. Pappas

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