State of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Lehigh County Drop Box Challenge

Gill v. Lehigh County Board of Elections

Lawsuit filed by America First Legal — a conservative group founded by Mark Meadows and Stephen Miller — on behalf of voters in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania against the Lehigh County Board of Elections challenging the rules regulating the use of drop boxes throughout the county. The plaintiffs allege that the current rules guiding the use of drop boxes violate the Pennsylvania Election Code, which the plaintiffs argue requires that “mailed and absentee ballots must be returned either by mail or in person by the person to whom the ballot belongs.” In their complaint, the plaintiffs reference a 2021 investigation into drop boxes by the Lehigh County district attorney, after which the district attorney announced that he would station detectives at drop box sites to monitor them. The plaintiffs contend that because there is no assurance that the district attorney will implement a similar drop box surveillance plan for the general election, they will be subjected to “irreparable harm” since “void or invalid ballots will dilute their validly cast ballots…thereby impinging on their fundamental right to vote.” They ask the court to ensure that the defendants are only able to continue to use drop boxes if “they institute adequate procedures to assure that only the voter delivers an absentee or mailed ballot to the drop box, such as placing the drop boxes inside [a building] and open only during normal business hours where the delivery of the ballot can be verified.” They also ask the court to prohibit the defendants from using drop boxes unless “they are physically monitored in-person to assure that the person delivering the ballot is only delivering his or her own ballot.”

On Oct. 19, a Pennsylvania judge denied Republicans’ request to restrict drop boxes in Lehigh County. The plaintiffs immediately appealed and requested a stay (meaning pause) of the decision pending appeal, which was subsequently denied. The plaintiffs then dismissed their appeal, which means that Lehigh County will be able to provide five drop boxes as planned for the midterm elections. The plaintiffs then dismissed their lawsuit.

Case Documents (Trial Court)

Case Documents (Appellate court)

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