After Pennsylvania County Board Adopts Drop Off Locations, Republicans Withdraw Lawsuit

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After the Allegheny County Board of Elections voted unanimously to adopt six ballot drop off locations for the 2024 primary, a Republican member of the board withdrewlawsuit he brought last week against the board. 

The dismissal of this lawsuit — led by Samuel DeMarco III, a Republican member of the Allegheny County Council and Allegheny County Board of Elections, and several Republican voters — comes after the court entered a consent decree earlier this week. 

In late February, Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato (D) announced in a press release that the county would use five ballot drop off locations for the state’s presidential primary on April 23, 2024. 

According to her release, voters are able to use the drop off locations during the two weekends before Election Day: Importantly, as Innamorato stated, the five locations are distributed geographically across the county to give all voters easier access to a secure ballot drop off location.

The Republican-backed lawsuit brought last week — which was “supported” by the right wing legal group, Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE) — challenged the drop off locations and alleged that this decision to open five drop off locations was made “behind closed doors” in violation of Pennsylvania law. The plaintiffs alleged that Innamorato took unilateral action and did not allow for public comment in violation of Pennsylvania law and asked that the court block the county’s use of drop off locations. 

Just four days after the lawsuit was filed, the parties entered an agreement on Monday, agreeing to dismiss the lawsuit if the board members held a vote to approve the drop off locations during their March 20 meeting. 

At today’s board meeting, voters testified to the importance of having accessible drop off locations. Many voters pointed out that drop off locations are extremely necessary since the state’s primary falls on an important Jewish holiday, Passover, and they would not be otherwise able to vote without these drop off locations.

A spokesperson for Innamorato told Democracy Docket earlier today: “We are delighted that the Board of Elections unanimously adopted the plan for additional ballot return sites today, including Sam DeMarco, who brought the lawsuit on Friday, which was settled on Monday, and is now moot.” 

U.S. Rep. Summer Lee (D-Pa.), who represents Allegheny County in Congress, pointed out how Pennsylvania Republicans’ “latest attempts to close ballot drop-off locations is a testament to their continued all-out assault on the fundamental right to vote.” The Pittsburgh-area representative called today’s vote “a win for democracy and Allegheny County voters.” 

The board officially voted to adopt the five geographically diverse ballot drop off locations and adopt an additional location in McKeesport, a suburb of Pittsburgh. This is a victory for voters who will still have access to these voting sites despite Republicans attempting to block their use. 

Read the consent decree here.

Learn more about the case here.