Don’t delay in dropping off that mail-in ballot: Ballot drop boxes will be locked at 8 p.m. sharp, Boockvar says

By: - November 3, 2020 10:26 am

Don’t dally in dropping off your mail-in ballot if you still have it.

According to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, ballot drop off boxes should be locked and closed down at 8 p.m. sharp. So unlike a polling place, if there’s a late crunch and you are in line at 8 p.m. to drop off your ballot, you will not be able to stay in line.

That’s because of a small difference in the state law governing in-person vs. mail-in voting, Boockvar elaborated Monday.

“Don’t assume you will get in line, because it needs to be in the box by 8 p.m.,” Boockvar said.

Whether counties abide by the strict deadline for mail-ins is another question.

Micheal Pipe, a Centre County commissioner, told the Capital-Star last week that they planned to treat the mail- in ballot boxes like polling places either way. Anyone in line at 8 p.m. would be safe to drop off their ballot.

Amy Cozze, chief registrar for Northampton County, said in an email she would follow Boockvar.

“The deadline is clear that ballots must be received by 8 p.m. – it is not covered by the same statute that allows those in line to vote at their polling location by 8,” Cozze said in an email. “So yes, they will be locked at 8 p.m..”

Mike Pries, a Dauphin County commissioner, said the drop off box will be emptied out one final time at 8 p.m. before it is removed from outside the county courthouse in downtown Harrisburg and brought inside to a “secure location.”

Either way, if you still have a ballot in Pennsylvania, return it as soon as possible. And a reminder: You are not required to show ID to drop off a ballot, and counties are not allowed to discount your ballot because of a bad signature.

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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.