Lebanon County Votes to Remove Only Ballot Dropbox

Today the Lebanon County Board of Elections voted 2-1 to eliminate the county’s only absentee ballot dropbox. 

The Board of Elections also voted 3-0 in favor of the construction of a shed that will be staffed and open during the same time as the nearby courthouse to receive mail ballots.

In January, Commissioners Bob Phillips and Micheal Kuhn voted to remove the dropbox while Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz voted to retain it. Because the vote on the dropbox was not clearly stated on the meeting agenda as required by law, this was a violation of Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act and the vote was rescheduled. 

Following last month’s vote to remove the dropbox, dozens of Common Cause Pennsylvania members and supporters in Lebanon County contacted the Board to share their support for keeping the dropbox.

Philip Hensley-Robin, executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, issued the following statement on today’s vote: 

“This is the county’s only dropbox. It is in a secure location at the county building monitored by security cameras. It is within the line of sight of the security personnel at the building. And still, this Board voted to eliminate this option for voters. 

“This new ‘shed’ replacement is a direct response to unfounded, baseless claims of voter fraud. Although we are grateful that Lebanon County voters will still have the option to return their mail ballots in-person, this change was entirely needless. Today’s vote is evidence of the dire need for statewide protections for dropboxes, and for the notice and cure of absentee ballots.

“We should make it as simple as possible for voters to complete their civic duty. We are grateful to Commissioner Litz for her sustained support, and to the voters in Lebanon County who spoke up in defense of voting accessibility.”