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Lehigh County to Deploy Ballot Drop Boxes After Judge Rejects Lawsuit | WDIY Local News

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Joshua Woroniecki
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A Lehigh County judge has rejected a lawsuit which sought to increase restrictions around the use of ballot drop boxes. WDIY’s Sarit Laschinsky has more.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four county residents by America First Legal, an advocacy group founded by former Trump administration officials.

It demanded that the Lehigh County Board of Elections provide in-person monitoring of its five ballot drop boxes, to have all the boxes located inside buildings, and to make them accessible only during normal business hours.

However, Judge Thomas Capehart wrote in his ruling Tuesday that to prevent the unlawful return of ballots by third parties, the plaintiffs were seeking to mandate policies and actions not specifically required under the law or the Election Code.

He said evidence presented at an earlier hearing proved that in-person monitoring did not conclusively reduce third-party ballot drop-offs, and that better signage, education and publicity was more effective.

Capehart added that in-person monitoring could unduly interfere with voters lawfully returning their ballots.

He also said making changes this late would likely create confusion and uncertainty, and further erode the public’s confidence in the election process.

Lehigh County said earlier on Tuesday that it would delay the deployment of its drop boxes while it awaited a ruling.

A county information officer said the drop box located at the Lehigh County Government Center drop box is now open 24/7, until the court says different, and that the county is working on opening the remaining four boxes no later than Oct. 24. Each box will also be under video surveillance.

The boxes are located at:

  • Whitehall Township Municipal Building, 2319 MacArthur Road, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Lehigh County Authority lobby, 1053 Spruce Road, Allentown, Monday-Friday, 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m.
  • Fountain Hill Borough Building, 941 Long St., Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Lehigh County Government Center, 17 South 7th St., Allentown, available 24/7.
  • Macungie Borough Building, 21 Locust St., Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Ballots can also be returned directly to the Board of Elections, located in the Government Center, or be mailed through the U.S. Postal Service.
(Original air-date: 10/19/22)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky is WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director.
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