York County officials taking a page from GOP-controlled state Senate

Mirna Gonzalez

There is a full-scale attack on how our elections are administered, with local and state politicians pushing policies intentionally designed to make it harder to vote, especially for Black and brown voters.

York County commissioners are scaling back mail-in ballot drop boxes ahead of the May 17 primary, permitting only curbside events for short durations on three specific days, with staff monitoring — a move counter to the expansion they put in place during the 2020 general election, when communities of color turned out in record numbers.

In this file photo, York County Sheriff's Deputies Paul Stoner, left, and Jim Ring move the county drop off box inside the York County Administrative Center after the 8 p.m. voting deadline Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. The box had been moved outside to accommodate drive-up ballot-casting.

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The commissioners’ move comes just weeks after the state Senate passed a bill to ban drop boxes entirely, alleging fraud where none exists. Multiple independent post-election reviews and dozens of bipartisan judges have verified the outcome of the 2020 election.

In limiting access at the polls, York County’s commissioners are taking a page from the state’s playbook, citing the potential for fraud as a reason to make the process harder and less convenient for eligible voters.

These actions do nothing to solve voters’ anxieties about not having the time to vote, standing in line for hours, or ensuring mail-in ballots are received and counted.

If elected leaders truly care about improving elections, then they would enhance language access to serve the growing number of residents whose first language isn’t English. They would allocate more money to county election offices and allow same-day voter registration, early in-person voting and automatic voter registration, rather than pulling out all the stops to disenfranchise voters just weeks before the election.

— Mirna Gonzalez is the lead organizer for CASA in York.