Dauphin County adds ballot drop box after concerns about voter suppression

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HARRISBURG, PA. (WHTM) – Dauphin County is changing the way it collects mail-in ballots after voters voiced some concerns.

On Thursday Dauphin County leaders decided to put a mail-in ballot collection box outside of the elections office on 2nd Street. Before that voters had to go inside the building and through security to drop off their ballot.

Leigh Ann Chow with Capital Region Stands Up said the group sees that as voter intimidation.

“Having that extra layer of security there just might be something that would make them feel uncomfortable enough to not access that location,” Chow said. “Since the Dauphin County location in Harrisburg primarily serves people of color, we felt that it was, intentionally or not, an attempt to suppress black and brown voters in Dauphin County.”

Dauphin County said those voter concers, along with a recent court decision persuaded them to put a ballot drop box outside. There is a security camera monitoring the box.

“We were able to achieve the change we were looking for. So I really commend the Dauphin County Commissioners for listening and for doing the right thing,” Chow said.

The group believes there’s still more work to be done though. They’re pushing for other changes, like adding more ballot drop boxes in counties across the Commonwealth.

“I know we’re new to mail in ballots and obviously during a pandemic is not the ideal circumstances. But a larger goal might be to work towards some consistency on a statewide level,” Chow said.

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