But on this November night, the Lehigh County Government Center ballot drop-box has no civil security guards or dastardly crooks, just a janitor wiping down the glass windows. Fallen leaves scattered on the sidewalk. Husky Snuffweed.
“The rhetoric being thrown around doesn’t match reality,” said Jeff Brace, chairman of the Lehigh County Commission and a registered Democrat. A nationwide survey found no evidence of voter fraud that could have swayed the election, and the same is true here. “It’s just convenient for people,” said Timothy Benyo, a local elections official who is a registered Republican. “It’s not a fraud factory.”
Ballot boxes weren’t always controversial. When the Republican-dominated Congress approved his broad mail-in ballot in 2019, the top Republican in the Pennsylvania Senate called it “the most significant electoral code modernization in decades.” Drop-off votes surged during the coronavirus pandemic, especially among Democrats, as Americans sought to avoid crowded polling places.
But ahead of the 2020 election, President Donald Trump and right-wing activists have argued without evidence that early voting is pervasive, and Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers have called for tougher rules. There are currently five drop boxes open in Lehigh County. A sign in his 24-hour voting slot at the Government Center warns that it is illegal to deposit someone else’s ballot without special permission.
In a lawsuit filed by a county judge last month, the America First Legal Foundation, led by President Trump’s senior adviser and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, cited a district attorney’s investigation, citing 288 cases. I found people’s cases. Withdraw multiple ballots ahead of the November 2021 election.
Most of the offenders slipped down to two and none had more than six. Authorities denied any charges. “There is no dreaded ‘ballot collecting’ with dump trucks loaded with extra ballots,” he said, Benyo, an elections official. “They are normal people.”
For eight hours over two nights this week, The Washington Post watched people vote in a historically serene part of Pennsylvania, nestled among the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains. They were Democrats, Republicans, and independents. Some had split tickets. No one wanted to deal with annoying phone calls on Election Day. Here are their five stories.
Deborah White arrived with her husband of 40 years, Lawrence, as the sun set against the foliage. There was no She, in principle, wanted to be here in her own time. “I’m a 68 year old African American woman,” she said. “There was a time when I couldn’t vote. I was like, ‘Oh my God,'” she said. i have to do this
During the last election, White, a Democrat, used dropbox because it was convenient and he didn’t want to catch the coronavirus. Now she came here to exercise her rights she felt under attack. Her efforts to shorten her early voting time have bothered her. She thought closing the slots at night would only block voters who had been working all day. They don’t want us to do what we are supposed to do. ”
Carter Prokesch, a 23-year-old R&D engineer, never planned to vote. His father then urged him to apply for a mail-in ballot and have his voice heard.
He had split tickets to vote for Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro. “Because all the Shapiro commercials weren’t about attacking people,” Prokesh said.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano chartered a bus to a January 6, 2021 riot rally and vowed to ban abortions without exception. He campaigned at events promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Prokesh was tired of all the fighting. He wanted to become a better Christian. He regretted voting for Trump after seeing so many insults thrown at him by the former president. His mother and his twin sister were Democrats. “We don’t talk politics,” he said.
When Lax Road voted in the 2020 election, the 38-year-old therapist had to wait in line behind 15 people. It didn’t take long, but the voting process was more than a walk to the drop-box on a breezy evening. Virtually no other human beings can be seen. Slide the ballot into the slot. end.
“I saved time,” he said with a grin. “Time is money in this capitalist country, isn’t it?” Mr. Lord considers himself independent and prefers to keep political decisions private. He immigrated to the US from India in 2008. He became a naturalized citizen about four years ago and has marveled at how politics has changed since then.
He has liberal and conservative clients. The gap between them is wider than ever. He encourages people to stick to the facts. “Back in India, there was no mail-in ballot,” Lorde said. “You’ll have to go in person. This is one of the things I like about being here. It makes our lives more convenient.”
Mark Stein, 60, thought Allentown’s city center would be quieter on weeknights. he was right Muhlenberg, his college history teacher, found a parking lot and put the ballot in minutes. Stein enjoys the energy of traditional polling in this hotly contested district and says he “never missed an election,” but the tension leading up to the midterm elections is plaguing him. increase.
Stein, a Democrat, had heard that armed groups had promised to “monitor” polling stations, including drop-boxes. He read that the perpetrator who attacked the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) with a hammer lashed out at liberals, blacks and Jews in her blog post.
He thought that Republican gubernatorial candidate Mastriano accused his opponent, Shapiro, of sending his children to a Jewish day school. (Mastriano says he criticizes schools for being “expensive” and “elite”, not for religious reasons.) “As an American Jew,” Stein said.
Janice Altieri, 58, is a Democrat. Her husband, Joe, 60, is a Republican. They had to talk to anyone about it. School librarian Janice said, “A lot of people around here are trying to get you to change your vote. “Ridiculous!” said Janis. “This way you don’t have to deal with all that.”
I would have preferred a 5 minute walk by my house to the polling place, but preferred a 10 minute drive to the ballot box. Campaigners in Lehigh County have been known to ambush voters on Election Day. Given all the conspiracy theories about election fraud, this year’s pamphlet is probably pretty ridiculous, Janis said.
The couple agreed the 2020 election wasn’t stolen. “I voted straight Democrat,” Janice said, turning to Joe. “I didn’t even ask! I don’t even know if our votes match.”