How often are drop boxes emptied? Have there been cases of drop box vandalism in Pa.? | Election Mailbag

    DORAL, FLORIDA - AUGUST 18: Poll workers at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department deposit peoples' mail in ballots into an official ballot drop box on primary election day on August 18, 2020 in Doral, Florida. Voters casts ballots in Miami-Dade to elect Miami-Dade’s mayor, School Board seats, Miami-Dade state attorney and Judges. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    Welcome back to the Capital-Star’s Election Mailbag: our weekly round-up of voting questions, crowdsourced from you – our readers. 

    We’re just four days away from the Nov. 3 general election, which means this will be our last installment of the Election Mailbag. 

    Before we dive in, if you’re still curious about the races and candidates you’ll see on your ballot, check out this guide.

    Now to your questions. 

    Do they empty them [drop boxes] daily/often?

    Yes. The exact times of collection are determined by the county board of elections, but the Department of State says ballots should be collected “at least every 24 hours, excluding Saturdays and Sundays.”

    Only designated personnel can collect ballots from the drop box sites and place them in a secure ballot transfer container. DOS recommends that election boards designate at least two election officials to collect ballots from drop boxes and other ballot return sites. 

    To ensure that ballots are collected in a timely manner, election officials note on “Ballot Return Site Collection Forms,” the site’s unique identification number and the date and time of retrieval. 

    You can read more about ballot collection and return procedures here. 

    Have there been cases of drop box vandalism?

    No. As of this reporting, the Department of State is not aware of any reports of drop box vandalism, according to a department spokesperson.

    Cassie Miller
    A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.