Blair County commissioner Bruce Erb says as of right now between 15 and 20 thousand voters have registered to receive mail-in or absentee ballots. Unlike in neighboring Centre County, voters will not have the option to submit their ballot through a drop box prior to election day.
Erb says litigation happening at the federal level could mean ballot drop boxes might be disallowed. He says the county is also concerned about the costs associated with monitoring the boxed and making sure they are secure.
Erb says the state released an 8-page manual detailing all the protocols that must be followed for each box. He’s concerned the courts may not make a decision on the drop boxes mid to late October, giving the county little time to react.
Ballots are expected to be sent out next week. Erb says the county is testing the ballots to make sure they are compatable with the counties scanners for counting. Once they are filled out, voters seal their ballots in a secrecy envelop and deliver it by mail.
Erb says it can also be hand-delivered to the county elections office from 8-4 pm up until election day. The votes will be held in a secure location and aren’t allowed to be opened until election day.
The county will have one more option to submit votes on November 3rd.
“On election day we will have a ballot box available for people to bring their own ballot in. I will be at our Union Street exit over here and it will be open from seven in the morning to eight at night, the same time as the polls.
So if people have not had a chance to mail before then or are concerned, we can always bring that in and hand deliver it themselves to the courthouse.”
Erb expects 25,000 mail in ballots will be cast in the county. The last day to apply for mail in or absentee ballots is Tuesday October 27th. Erb says the elections office will stay open until 5 pm to serve voters that day.