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York County to place mail-in ballot box outside

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

The mail-in ballot drop box that's usually situated inside the York County elections office will be moved outside for three days to make it easier for voters to return their ballots by Election Day, county officials said Wednesday.

The box will be in front of the county administration building at 28 E. Market St. in York City from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24; 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1; and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.

"We wanted to make sure that we also offered some times that were on a weekend for folks to come in," said York County President Commissioner Julie Wheeler.

Two sheriff's deputies and two county employees will be at the box during all drop-off times, Wheeler said, and one lane of traffic on East Market Street will be closed to make it easier to access the drop box.

York County voters are expected to cast about 100,000 mail-in ballots in the general election, and it's the first presidential election in Pennsylvania during which no-excuse voting by mail will be an option.

In the June 2 primary, about 40,000 people voted by mail in York County.

Lawsuits: The political fight over mail-in ballots and voting rights in this election is tied up in several court cases and lawsuits.

York County assistant director of assessment Kimberly Harris inserts a mail-in ballot into a secured drop box at the York County Administration Center on East Market Street in York City, Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Ballot drop boxes are the subject of a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump's campaign against Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and the boards of elections for all 67 counties, including York County.

But the president's lawsuit has more to do with drop boxes that were allegedly placed in shopping centers, at college campuses or in other non-governmental facilities and left unsecured during the June 2 primary.

In this case, York County's drop box will be monitored in person at all times by government employees when it's on the sidewalk in front of the building.

More recently, the Trump campaign sued the city of Philadelphia on Thursday over its refusal to allow poll watchers inside the city's satellite election offices to observe people as they register to vote or fill out and drop off mail-in ballots, The Associated Press reported.

And in response to the surge in mail-in ballots expected in the election — and amid fears that some voters would be disenfranchised if the U.S. Postal Service was unable to deliver their ballots to county election officials by Election Day — the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 must be counted if they are received by 5 p.m. on Nov. 6, three days after Election Day.

York County officials have said the county would begin sending out ballots as soon as the state certified the ballots, which was expected to occur last month.

More:Smucker: Mail-in voting safe, secure in York and Lancaster counties

More:Trump campaign sues Philadelphia over mail-in voting offices