Lehigh County will continue to monitor ballot drop boxes in Tuesday’s election

Written by on May 13, 2022

Lehigh County will continue to monitor ballot drop boxes in Tuesday’s election

By Tyler Pratt
May 13, 2022

There are concerns that having detectives watching drop boxes will cause votoer intimidation. (Photo | WLVR)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Lehigh County will continue to use law enforcement to monitor ballot drop boxes for the May primary election despite a request from the state’s top election official to stop.

The head of the Department of State met with Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin Monday.

Listen to the story.

Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman called it a “brief, cordial conversation.”

“He told me that at this moment there’s no evidence of any voter fraud they have identified,” Chapman said at a Department of State press conference Thursday

Chapman said Martin didn’t address her concerns that having detectives at drop boxes could lead to voter intimidation particularly in communities of color.

But she said plans will be different for the fall.  

“[Martin] has indicated to me that he is not going to have these detectives outside of drop boxes for the November General Election,” Chapman said.

Chapman also requested Martin send in the details of his monitoring plan but didn’t receive that by her May 11 deadline. The DA offered to send a surveillance report after the election instead, she said. 

District Attorney Jim Martin hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment.

The Department of State can advise on election issues, but can’t enforce. Chapman said she has referred the issue to the state Attorney General’s office and Department of Justice.

A DOJ representative said the agency is “unable to confirm nor deny the existence of any investigation.” 

A spokesman from the state Attorney General’’s office says they are monitoring the situation and will take any reports of voter interference seriously..

Lehigh County’s chief clerk of elections says more than 25,000 residents have registered to vote by mail in the primary election. 

Ballots are due back by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

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