Venango election officials install drop box for ballots

Melanie Bailey, the Venango County voter registrar, stands by the county's official ballot drop box located in front of the courthouse annex building on Elk Street. (By Kara O'Neil)

The Venango County election office has installed a drop box for mail-in and absentee ballots outside in front of the courthouse annex building on Elk Street.

"It is brand new and secure," said Melanie Bailey, the county's voter registrar. "It's bolted to the ground and is for use only for the ballots."

The mailbox-like container, installed Oct. 8, is owned by the county and isn't associated with any political party.

Completed absentee and mail-in ballots may be deposited in the box by registered voters within the county.

"It is emptied by our office at least twice a day," said Bailey.

The deadline to place a ballot in the drop-box is 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. That coincides with the time the county's in-person polling places close.

Voters may also submit a completed mail-in or absentee ballot by mail or in person at the county election office.

Two deadlines associated with the Nov. 3 election remain open.

The last day to register to vote or change any information as to party registration, name or residency is this Monday.

The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot or absentee ballot is Oct. 27.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court hasn't yet issued a decision on a deadline for county officials to receive mail-in and absentee ballots. Traditionally, those ballots were to be received by county election officials by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Sept. 17 that the deadline would be extended to up to three days following Election Day. The ballots, though, must be postmarked by the time the polls close at 8 p.m. Nov. 3.

That decision to extend the count was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court by the Pennsylvania GOP.