Dauphin County officials extend elections office hours, add Ballot Return Site for voter services
HARRISBURG, PA (September 30, 2020) – Dauphin County officials are taking steps to make it easier for voters to process paperwork and return their ballots for the November 3 election.
“County elections staff has been working diligently to process ballot requests as they come in,” said Commissioner Mike Pries, who chairs the county’s Elections Board. “Voters who requested ballots before the end of September can expect to see their ballots in the mail over the next several days. To give voters another option for returning ballots, we’re extending office hours at the elections office in Harrisburg and designating the Northern Dauphin Human Services Center in Elizabethville as an official Ballot Return Site.”
Starting October 6, the county’s elections office, located in the lobby of the Dauphin County Administration Building at 2 South Second Street in Harrisburg, will extend weekday office hours from 4:30 to 8 p.m. for voters to pick up or return forms and ballots.
Also starting October 6, the county’s Northern Dauphin Human Services Center in Elizabethville will serve as a Ballot Return Site from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Trained county staff will be on hand to accept completed ballots. Voter registration and mail-in ballot request forms, although available for pickup and drop off, will not be processed onsite.
Voters who plan to drop off their ballots in person are reminded that, according to Pennsylvania election law, they may only return their own ballot.
“The additional staffing and new equipment needed to carry out the election has significantly increased the bureau’s budget, and ultimately cost taxpayers more money,” said Board Chairman Jeff Haste. “This year, the elections office budget is $750,000 more than 2019.”
As of September 29, the office processed a total of 50,993 applications for absentee and mail-in ballots, of which 32,208 are Democrat and 13,304 are Republican.
“We are focusing on meeting the needs of voters and ensuring that every vote is counted,” said Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III. “Leading up to the election, we plan to increase staffing and potentially extend hours at the Ballot Return Sites to help process the 80,000-plus ballots that we anticipate coming in.”
The cost associated with extended office hours and additional staffing will be covered by $130,000 in CARES grant funding from the state and $150,000 in federal funding for ballot security.
The commissioners remind voters of the following important deadlines:
- The last day to register to vote is October 19.
- The last day to request a mail-in or absentee ballot is October 27.
- Deadlines for returning your mail-in or civilian absentee ballot:
- By mail: must be postmarked by 8 p.m. on November 3, Election Day.
- In-person: must be returned to your county board of elections office or other designated location by 8 p.m. on November 3, Election Day.
For more information about voting in Dauphin County, go to DauphinCounty.org and click on “What Voters Need to Know” or call 717-780-6360.
Instructions for Casting a Mail-In Ballot
Return your ballot as early as possible. We must receive your ballot by November 3 at 8 pm or, if mailed, postmarked by 8 p.m. Election Day.
Mark your ballot
Verify your selections carefully.
Pack and seal it
- Put your ballot in the “Official Election Ballot” envelope and seal it.
- Put the “Official Election Ballot” envelope in the larger ballot-return envelope and seal it.
Sign and date it
- Fill in the Voter’s Declaration on the back of the ballot-return envelope and be sure to sign and date it.
- By mail—No postage necessary. Must be postmarked by Election Day, 8pm.
- In person—Drop your ballot off at the County Board of Elections no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Remember: If you plan to deliver your ballot in person, you must deliver it yourself. You cannot return someone else’s voted ballot, even if it is for a spouse or family member.
If you lose your ballot or make a mistake, contact us right away at 717-780-6360.
If you receive an absentee or mail-in ballot and return your voted ballot by the deadline, you may not vote at your polling place on Election Day. If you are unable to return your voted absentee or mail-in ballot by the deadline, you may only vote a provisional ballot at your polling place on Election Day, unless you surrender your absentee or mail-in ballot and envelope to the judge of elections to be voided to vote by regular ballot.
Ballot Return Sites
Dauphin County Administration Building
2 South 2nd Street (first floor), Harrisburg, PA
Hours: Weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Starting October 6, open until 8 p.m.)
Northern Dauphin Human Services Center
295 State Drive, Elizabethville, PA
Hours: Weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., starting October 6
*For picking up and dropping off voter registration and ballot applications and returning completed ballots