A black box in Harrisburg is the hottest polling place in town

By: - June 2, 2020 8:03 pm

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Just 80 people voted in person at Harrisburg City Hall Tuesday, according to the precinct’s judge of elections. That’s in a ward of 1,000 registered voters.

Instead, the bulk of the voting was happening a block away, in a small black box outside the Dauphin County courthouse. The county had received 32,000 mail-in ballots as of Tuesday evening, according to Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries.

That total was only growing Tuesday night, as voters continued to search for the drop off. 

Brianna Crowley, a volunteer for Democratic 10th Congressional District hopeful Tom Brier, was standing outside of city hall. She said she directed far more voters during her four-hour shift to that box at the courthouse than into the polling place behind her.

After Crowley’s one block relay, voters would be greeted by Harrisburg resident Khaldun Rasheed, a self-described community activist who munched on a salad while advising confused voters how to open the ballot receptacle.

And as they left, Rasheed would cheerfully add, “Thanks for voting!”

Individuals arrived in dribs and drabs to drop off their ballots, by bike, car and foot. Some even left talking to old friends they bumped into at the box. County elections chief Jerry Feaser personally emptied the box every 15 minutes.

One of the voters who showed up with their ballot was Shannon, who declined to give her last name. In her twenties, she picked Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders for president, even though he suspended his campaign in April.

Shannon was sad this was, potentially, her last chance to vote for the 78-year old democratic socialist. But she took some heart in helping to continue his movement by collecting signatures and voting for Sanders-backing delegates for the Democratic National Convention in August.

“Even though it kinda seems meaningless, it’s nice to know they will be there representing our vote,” Shannon said.

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Stephen Caruso
Stephen Caruso

Stephen Caruso is a former senior reporter with Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Before working with the Capital-Star he covered Pennsylvania state government for The PLS Reporter.