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A ‘dancing drop box’ costume was mistaken for a real mail-in ballot box in Bucks County

Six people cast votes in a "dancing drop box" costume that was confused for a mail-in ballot drop box in Bristol Borough.

A mock ballot box previously used as a "dancing ballot box" costume that was found at a Bucks County borough hall. Six people cast their ballots in the mock drop box.
A mock ballot box previously used as a "dancing ballot box" costume that was found at a Bucks County borough hall. Six people cast their ballots in the mock drop box.Read moreBucks County

The Bucks County Board of Elections removed a “dancing drop box” costume from Bristol Borough Hall on Wednesday after six people had already confused it for a real ballot box and dropped off their mail-in ballots.

The board separated the ballots and planned to contact the people who cast them about the mix-up, according to a statement from Bucks County.

“We found out about it and we got it out of there as quick as we could,” said Bucks County spokesperson Jim O’Malley.

The board also contacted the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.

Despite the confusion, those six people will be allowed to recast their ballots for the November general election, said O’Malley. It is yet to be determined by the state if the voters will be able to cast the same ballots in the appropriate drop box or if they will have to fill out new ballots, he said.

The culprit of the dupe, according to Bucks County, was a per diem, temporary employee for the board. The person was not yet employed by the county when they installed the mock ballot box and was fired when the box was discovered, the statement said. O’Malley did not have a motive for the employee’s actions.

A spokesperson for the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that no charges had been filed and that none were likely forthcoming. In a statement, District Attorney Matt Weintraub said the cardboard box did not appear to be an attempt at voter fraud.

”After consulting with the chair of the Board of Elections, and after consideration of the facts, I have concluded at this time that the person responsible for placing the mock ballot drop box did not intend to commit election fraud by their actions and was not acting at the direction of any governmental agency or official to commit election fraud,” Weintraub said in the statement.

The mock ballot box was previously used as a “dancing drop box” costume, one of many elaborate costumes, intricate puppets, and other sculptures used in a mass of demonstrations last fall during the 2020 presidential election season.

Activists and voting rights groups orchestrated demonstrations ahead of the election to inform voters of their rights and how they could cast mail-in ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic. One educational campaign geared toward 18-year-old and first-time voters had volunteers dressed up in the mailbox costumes, handing out educational materials.

It was not clear which group had constructed the ballot box costume that was found at Bristol Borough Hall.

The events sprouted across the city, most prominently outside City Hall, where a cadre of dancing mailboxes performed a choreographed routine, and the Convention Center, where much of the nation turned their eyes as counters tallied a historic number of mail-in ballots.

One art-as-protest group, Spiral Q, was walloped by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, losing much of the art they had created to flooding and water damage. The group’s codirectors Jennifer Turnbull and Liza Goodell estimated that 65% to 70% of the company’s more than 2,000 artifacts were destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

Among the art lost was one of the mailbox puppets the group created with the #VoteThatJawn voter-drive group that became iconic as votes were counted, even garnering a place in the Smithsonian Institution for preservation.