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With the primary election just days away, Lebanon County elections director Sean Drasher is feeling ecstatic about the election bureau’s preparedness come Tuesday. 

“Absolutely fantastically,” said Drasher during an interview with LebTown on Tuesday, May 9. “Everything is running smoothly. No problems. Everything out is ahead of schedule. We have (voter) machine delivery scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) and that is right on schedule. Ballots came in from both vendors, perfect, and we even had time to run extra tests through and everything worked out perfectly.”

Drasher noted that the county has distributed 6,825 mail-in ballots and 4,217 had been received as of 3:30 p.m. Thursday. He noted that Lebanon County voter rolls total about 91,000 as of this election cycle.

Drasher shared the following numbers with LebTown:

6,825 applications issued (no more to be issued)

  • 2,664 GOP
  • 4,139 Dem

4,217 confirmed back (more coming in)

  • 1,691 GOP (64% return rate)
  • 2,526 Dem (61%  return rate)

Drasher also wrote in an email that there are 122 absentee ballots and three military ballots for this election cycle. 

“Mail-in ballots must be in-hand by the time the polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day,” said Drasher. “That’s NOT in the mail, that’s in our office. I can’t emphasize that enough because the last thing we want to have happen is a vote not valid because it wasn’t delivered to us on time.”

Drasher noted the mail-in ballot requests for this municipal race are just slightly more than the last one.

“We beat the last municipal cycle, which shocked me,” said Drasher. “We were trending so slow, but it was steady and they just kept coming – a hundred, a hundred, a hundred, so we just barely beat the last one in 2021. We thought it might go down a little bit, but apparently people have stuck to it.” 

Drasher added a personal special request for mail-in voters whose ballots have not yet been received at his office.

“Please don’t wait until the last minute to drop them off,” said Drasher. “Yes, technically, they can drop them off until 8 that night, but we have to bust our humps to get them counted. And, you never know what might happen if you wait until the last minute. A million things could go wrong that prevent a voter from getting their mail-in ballot to us if they wait until the last minute. If they can get them to us a little earlier, that would be great.”

It wouldn’t be the first time that a mail-in ballot didn’t count because of unseen circumstances.

“We always get calls the day after an election from someone saying they didn’t get it to us, and could they drop it off at our office,” said Drasher. “The answer is no, the election is over.”

Drasher said the mail-in ballot dropbox – located near the rear entrance of the county municipal building – will be open until 8 p.m. on Election Day and from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Friday and again on Monday during the county’s regular business hours. The mail-in dropbox is not open for delivery on weekends, added Drasher. 

Drasher noted that if any voters who have previously requested a mail-in ballot and still haven’t received theirs, should contact his office at (717) 228-4428. Now that the county has added a new mail-in ballot processing machine to handle mail-in, absentee and military ballots, election workers are able to track ballots as they move through the United States Postal System.

For voters who plan to head to the polls on Tuesday, Drasher said they will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday. If you need to look up your polling place, you can do that here.

Drasher noted that the window to request a mail-in or civilian absentee ballot closed on Tuesday, May 9. Anyone who previously has not requested either of those ballots prior to that date will need to vote at their local precinct on Tuesday.

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James Mentzer

James Mentzer is a freelance writer whose published works include the books Pennsylvania Manufacturing: Alive and Well; Bucks County: A Snapshot in Time; United States Merchant Marine Academy: In Service to the Nation 1943-2018; A Century of Excellence: Spring Brook Country Club 1921-2021; and Lancaster...