Long lines again at York County election office on last day to request mail-in ballot

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

Voters were lined up again at the York County Administrative Center on Tuesday to cast their votes, with about 50 people waiting outside at one point just to drop their completed ballots in the outdoor collection box.

Tuesday at 5 p.m. was the deadline to request a mail-in ballot in-person or online, as well as  the deadline to take advantage of early in-person voting, in which voters could apply for their ballot at the elections office, then fill it out on the spot and submit it.

York County Commissioner Julie Wheeler said there was a steady stream of people lined up Tuesday inside the elections office, but she had good news for those who are nervous about making it to the front of the line in time.

"For anyone that is in line by 5 o'clock, we will ensure that we process their request for a mail-in ballot," Wheeler said.

To help streamline the process, Wheeler said employees from the elections office combed the line and provided voters with paperwork so they could start filling out and submitting their applications while they wait.

Then, by the time they get up to the counter, the staff members would have the ballots ready to go and the voter could fill it out immediately or take it home and submit it by mail or the county's drop box.

York County voters line up at the County Administrative Center to receive a mail-in ballot, Tuesday, October 27, 2020, the last day to apply for mail-in or civilian absentee ballots.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Andy Stewart, of Spring Garden Township, said he waited in line for about an hour and a half Tuesday to apply for a ballot and fill it out.

"Both my wife and my son did mail-in balloting and I fully intended to go to the polling place, but because of all the crowds, I figured I'd come down here and take care of it. And got in a crowd," Stewart said.

Another voter said he waited in line for three hours before he got his ballot.

Meanwhile, the line outside the administrative center to leave completed ballots in the designated drop box appeared to move quickly.

As of Monday, county election officials had sent out nearly 90,000 mail-in ballots to voters.

The long lines could be partly due to state officials urging voters to vote early and in-person, and to hand-deliver their ballots.

In a tweet Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf urged voters who were using mail-in ballots to hand deliver the ballot to their elections office as soon as possible. He did not mention using the U.S. Postal Service.

There also are questions about whether the U.S. Supreme Court will reverse a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision allowing mail-in ballots to be accepted if they are postmarked by Election Day and arrive by Friday, Nov. 6.

Luzerne County officials requested that the newest justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was formally sworn in Tuesday, recuse herself from the ballot decision, The Associated Press reported.

— Photographer John Pavoncello contributed to this story.

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