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Want to hand in more than 1 mail-in ballot? Pa. Department of State says not so fast.

Except in rare circumstances, voters can only drop off their own ballot at a mailbox, drop box, or county election office.

  • Sam Dunklau
FILE - A person drops off a mail-in ballot at an election ballot return box in Willow Grove, Pa., Oct. 25, 2021. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are crucial swing states that allow mail-in ballots but give local election offices very little if any time before Election Day to process them. Election workers’ inability to check signatures, addresses and get the mailed ballots ready for counting ahead of time means many of the those ballots may not be counted on Election Day

 Matt Rourke / AP Photo

FILE - A person drops off a mail-in ballot at an election ballot return box in Willow Grove, Pa., Oct. 25, 2021. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are crucial swing states that allow mail-in ballots but give local election offices very little if any time before Election Day to process them. Election workers’ inability to check signatures, addresses and get the mailed ballots ready for counting ahead of time means many of the those ballots may not be counted on Election Day

If you’re voting by mail this election season, you’ll have plenty of rules to follow – including where and how to drop your ballot off before polls close.

The Department of State is among those answering common questions about Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballot process on its website – including one that a member of WITF’s Capitol News Chatter text club asked this week:

Can someone drop off more than one completed ballot at a mailbox? 

The answer is no: while voters can drop off ballots at a county election office, drop box or mailbox, they’re only allowed to hand in their own ballot. Multiple ballot drop-offs are allowed only if a voter with a disability has given someone else written permission to turn in their ballot.

State lawmakers have fussed over that rule for the last year: some say it’s a widespread problem, pointing to video from last year’s election that shows some voters in a handful of counties dropping off multiple ballots. Some have even ribbed Gov. Tom Wolf for handing in his wife’s ballot along with his own in that same election – a move that was technically illegal.

County leaders who recorded the videos have said those voters probably didn’t know the dropoff rules, and were likely dropping off ballots for a friend or family member. 

Other lawmakers say the law should change to let voters at least drop off a family member’s ballot – but so far, no proposal to do that has cleared the legislature.

It’s not clear if or how county election workers will monitor mailboxes to make sure the rule is followed, but the Department of State says to follow the one-ballot-per-voter rule just to be safe.

If you’re voting by mail, your ballot has to arrive at your county election office by 8 p.m. on November 8th for it to count. 

You can also register to vote, apply for a mail-in ballot before Oct. 24, and find out more about Pennsylvania’s election process here.

 

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