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Secretary of State Denise Merrill admits the state was somewhat overwhelmed by a surge in requests for mail-in ballots. Sometimes the mail's delayed. But what exactly are they — and how do they work? After Early Voting ends, drive-up drop boxes will be available at IVS Election Center 2990-1 Apalachee Pkwy Tallahassee FL 32301,so voters can quickly return a ballot without getting out of their vehicle. With so many states expanding vote by mail this year, election experts expect the overall share of people using drop boxes to be much larger. It's a growing concern as the nation prepares for an unprecedented flood of absentee and mail-in voting in November amid funding cuts at the U.S. With the Trump administration openly trying to undermine mail-in voting this fall, some election officials around the country are hoping to bypass the Postal Service by installing lots of ballot drop boxes in libraries, community centers and other public places. A couple of Connecticut towns complained that having them outside and available to voters around the clock isn't safe, even though many are protected with security cameras. Access for whom is not clear. The county has double the number of drop boxes since the March 2020 Primary Election, offering voters another way to avoid gathering at polling places on Nov. 3. But the boxes have also been controversial. Illinois Mail-In Voting: How To Get A Ballot, Drop Box Locations - Across Illinois, IL - Plus, mail-in voting deadlines. OLSON: And they're bolted to the ground, so it's not really something anybody can move easily. They can ask you once you fill that ballot out, or they can not turn it in at all or you. Link for more information Arkansas Reporter Eli Newman of NPR member station WDET contributed to this report. Both the box and contents survived. Sen. Ed Markey called on election officials Friday to deploy “hundreds” of drop boxes throughout the state and Becky Grossman, a Newton city councilor and … "They complement the limited postal [services] that are available in communities and are just critical to providing access this season," she said. November 2020 Presidential General Election. Researchers have found that drop boxes can boost overall turnout, but there's no evidence — at least so far — that one party benefits over the other. Copyright © 2020 NPR. FESSLER: Instead, it was one of several hundred ballot drop boxes located across the state. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File) hide caption. One voting option that's gaining popularity — and also attracting controversy — is the use of drop boxes, where voters can deposit their absentee ballots to be collected later by election officials. FESSLER: Drop box supporters dismiss such concerns as completely unfounded. LARRY OLSON: I took a couple orders today. Drop it off at an early voting poll site between October 24 and November 1. Search for a location near you View list of Vote Center (in-person voting and in-person drop off) locations View the Wait Time at Vote Centers View list of Secure Ballot Drop Box locations Vote Center Hours. Rather than submitting absentee/mail-in ballots through the postal service, voters (especially last-minute voters!) Drop boxes are a safe and secure way for Pennsylvania voters to return their voted mail-in or absentee ballots. But many, like Elizabeth Dandridge, didn't want to count on the post office to deliver those ballots. So far this year, tens of thousands of primary ballots have been rejected around the country because they arrived too late. He says there are multiple features to prevent tampering. "I wanted to be sure that it was collected," Dandridge said of her ballot. All the drop boxes will be in their locations starting on Thursday, Sept. 24, which is the first day ballots can be mailed to voters by the Will County Clerk. Elizabeth Dandridge was one of a steady stream of voters in Detroit last week who placed their ballots in one such box — a red, white and blue metal container on the sidewalk right outside the city's main election office. Many voters are worried about casting their ballots in person this November because of the pandemic. Absentee ballots may be … Connecticut is using about 200 drop boxes for the first time in its primary Tuesday. They note that drop boxes have been used in some states — such as Washington and Oregon — for years without problems. I'm waiting on packages where people had sent me over two weeks ago, and they haven't come. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information. The company says it's seen a bump in orders this year as absentee voting has expanded. Postal Service and election … TRE HARGETT: If someone knows you've got an absentee ballot, they can say, hey; I'll be glad to take that for you and drop that off for you. Drop boxes will be placed at: Follow these steps on how to properly cast your ballot by mail in Illinois. CUMMING, GA — A secure drop-off box is an option for returning absentee ballots for Cumming voters during the early voting period. NPR's Pam Fessler reports. With so much controversy and uncertainty surrounding mail-in voting for this year's general election, ballot drop boxes are becoming an increasingly attractive option for voters. DENISE MERRILL: There's a lot of confusion just at the moment about when the ballots got mailed, to whom, when they're going to arrive. Drop boxes — special containers for voters to drop off absentee ballots in sealed envelopes — have become more commonplace in … They can ask to watch you fill that ballot out or they cannot turn it in at all for you," Hargett said. They note that drop boxes had been used in some states for decades without problems. Courtesy of Thurston County, Wash., Auditor's Office, Postmaster General Touts Postal Service Overhaul But Promises On-Time Election Mail, Signed, Sealed, Undelivered: Thousands Of Mail-In Ballots Rejected For Tardiness, tens of thousands of primary ballots have been rejected, With November Approaching, Election Officials Still Face Safety, Security Fears, Mail-In Voting Is 'Not Rampant Voter Fraud,' Says Washington's Top Election Official, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Attacking Vote-By-Mail Was Hurting Trump In Fla., Experts Say. Gwinnett Voter Registrations and Elections is offering secure ballot drop boxes to provide eligible voters a way to return their voted absentee ballots for January 5, 2021 Runoff. "There's a lot of confusion just at the moment about when the ballots got mailed, to whom, when they're going to arrive," Merrill said. A voter inserts a ballot in a drive-up drop box last week in Renton, Wash., in that state's primary. Voters may return their mail-in or absentee ballot at their county election board's designated drop box (es) or dropoff location before 8 p.m. on election day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Still, Larry Olson of Laserfab, a company in Washington state that makes the boxes, says demand's definitely on the rise. With concerns about in-person voting or relying on mail-in voting, more election offices are providing secure drop boxes to submit absentee ballots. "We believe it's a great security measure to have someone returning their own ballot by the United States Postal Service. FESSLER: And he's confident their boxes are far more secure than the average mailbox. Any ballots retrieved from a drop box or drop-off location shall be processed in the same manner as vote-by-mail ballots personally delivered to the office of the county elections official by the voter, ballots returned to a polling location, and ballots received via the United States Postal Service or … A ballot drop box is a secure, locked structure operated by election officials where voters may deliver their ballots from the time they receive them in the mail up to the time polls close on at 8 pm on Election Day, November 3rd. You may not … The Postal Service is bracing for an avalanche of mail-in ballots amid the pandemic, elections experts say drop boxes can safely alleviate the strain on the mail system. "I took a couple orders today," he said, adding that he has about 100 more boxes to produce before November. With concerns about in-person voting or relying on mail-in voting, more election offices are providing secure drop boxes to submit absentee ballots. The boxes are also made of steel and weigh about 600 pounds. Drop Boxes . Residents can return their absentee ballot by mail or in one of the Fulton County Absentee Ballot Drop Boxes. Voted Ballots must be returned to the Elections Office by 7:00 pm on Election Day. Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images Accuracy and availability may vary. Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law told senators the boxes are an important and convenient option for voters. (SOUNDBITE OF CASHMERE CAT SONG, "MIRROR MARU"). Friday, 10/30/20: 8AM-8PM; Saturday, 10/31/20: 8AM-8PM; Sunday, 11/1/20: 8AM-8PM FESSLER: In fact, he notes that an SUV plowed into one of them in Washington state last year. Vote-by-Mail Drop Boxes The Supervisor of Elections office will have drop boxes across the county during early voting to ensure that voters are able to securely drop off their Vote-by-Mail ballot - … They are also worried that mail-in ballots could be misplaced or delayed. hide caption. KRISTEN CLARKE: They complement the limited postal box offices that are available in communities and are just critical to providing access this season. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. ", Ballot boxes are under construction at Laserfab Inc.'s factory. A voter inserts a ballot in a drive-up drop box last week in Renton, Wash., in that state's primary. Drop box supporters dismiss such concerns as completely unfounded. Many voters are worried about casting their ballots in person this November because of the pandemic. Secretary of State Denise Merrill admitted the state was somewhat overwhelmed by a surge in requests for mail-in ballots. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record. You can drop off your completed ballot at a drop box, early voting location or Election Day voting location in your county by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. Courtesy of Laserfab Inc. Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told the Senate committee that drop boxes are an important and convenient option for voters — especially this year. A ballot drop box made by Laserfab survived after an SUV plowed into it last year, the company says. Voting started on Monday in California. More than a million Michigan voters decided to cast absentee ballots in the primary rather than go to the polls. NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. In the last presidential election, about 16% of voters nationwide used drop boxes, but they were concentrated in states such as Washington, Oregon and Colorado, where almost all voters cast absentee ballots. AP The New York City Board of Elections on Tuesday unveiled the design of the drop-off ballot box where COVID-19-concerned voters can safely deliver their mail-in … Ballot drop boxes. Many election officials are encouraging voters to use drop boxes instead to make sure their ballots don't arrive too late to be counted. There are 193 ballot drop boxes in Massachusetts — a list expected to grow — that mail-in voters can use as an alternative to USPS, Secretary of State William Galvin announced Thursday. Ballot boxes are under construction at Laserfab Inc.'s factory. But the Trump campaign is … They will remain in their locations through Election Day. The number of drop boxes varies by state, but the United States Election Assistance Commission recommends counties install one drop box for every 15,000 to 20,000 registered voters. Connecticut's using 200 new drop boxes in tomorrow's primary. “When they drop absentee ballots in the drop box before the deadline, they can be sure that their ballot was received by election officials. But the Trump campaign is suing to limit their use. Courtesy of Thurston County, Wash., Auditor's Office Depending on their location, ballot drop boxes are often monitored by surveillance cameras or election workers that work specified hours—offering a … Drop it off at a poll site on November 3 by 9pm ; Drop it off at your County Board of Elections Office no later than November 3 by 9pm (see list of County Board of Elections Offices below) "If someone knows you've got an absentee ballot, they can say, 'Hey I'll be glad to take that for you and drop that off for you.' 100 W. Randolph, Suite 14-100 Chicago, IL 60601 Phone: 312-814-6440 And even a week ago, local election offices were still trying to fill those requests. A poll worker wears personal protective equipment as she monitors a ballot drop box for mail-in ballots outside of a polling station during early voting in Miami Beach, Florida. ELIZABETH DANDRIDGE: I wanted to be sure that it was collected in a box. hide caption. Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett recently told a Senate committee his state doesn't allow drop boxes for fear voters might be pressured on how to vote. FESSLER: And it's a growing concern as the U.S. prepares for a flood of absentee and mail-in voting in November. A couple of Connecticut towns complained that having them outside available to voters 24/7 isn't safe even though many are protected with security cameras. PAM FESSLER, BYLINE: A steady stream of voters in Detroit, Mich., last week approached a red, white and blue metal box right outside the city's main election office. I'm waiting on packages where people have sent me over two weeks ago, and they haven't come.". It's going to be very tight, and the ballot boxes play an increasingly important role in all this because, you know, you shave off two, three, four, maybe five days from when you mail a ballot. FESSLER: Access for whom isn't clear. Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett also told the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration recently that his state doesn't allow drop boxes for fear voters might be pressured to vote a certain way. If you have any questions, please contact your local election office. Larry Olson of Laserfab Inc., a company in Puyallup, Wash., that makes boxes now used in 10 states, said demand is definitely on the rise. - For the first time, vote by mail ballots are being mailed to all registered voters due to the pandemic. SAFE, SECURE, CONVENIENT Permanent Vote-by-Mail drop boxes are now available at both Supervisor of Elections office locations. "And they're bolted to the ground, so it's not really something anybody can move easily," he said. Michigan had hundreds of drop boxes available for its primary after more than 1 million voters decided to cast absentee ballots rather than go to the polls. Mail ballots may also be returned to a secure drop box at an early voting location during the designated early voting hours (see below), in accordance with Florida Statute 101.69(2). With more states expanding absentee voting due to the pandemic, the use of drop boxes is growing and leading to legal challenges from some Republicans. It's a growing concern as the nation prepares for an unprecedented flood of absentee and mail-in voting in November amid funding cuts at the U.S. All rights reserved. She said election offices were still trying to fill those requests a week before the election, leaving little time for voters to fill them in and send them back in the mail. The drop off boxes are not property of the United States Postal Service. Olson said he is confident that his company's containers are more secure than the average mailbox, noting that the steel boxes are designed to be both water- and tamper-proof. With more states expanding absentee voting due to the pandemic, the use of drop boxes is growing and leading to legal challenges from some Republicans. The Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign have filed suit to block Pennsylvania from using such boxes in November, arguing they could increase the chances for fraud. A ballot drop box made by Laserfab survived after an SUV plowed into it last year, the company says. Postal Service and election offices struggling to meet demands. The Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign have even gone to court to try to block Pennsylvania from using such boxes in November, arguing they could increase the chances for fraud. So He Changed Course, 'It's Ridiculous': States Struggle To Accommodate Coronavirus Positive Voters. Learn where to drop off Absentee Ballots. Ballot drop off boxes are monitored and secured by trusted election officials. Monday, November 2, 10AM - 6PM Tuesday, November 3 (Election … In the March 2020 Primary Election, the number of boxes throughout the County expanded to 206. These boxes remained secure and accessible throughout the entire voting period. Look for the tent in the parking area. The box looked a little like a high-tech trash can or recycling bin. "It's going to be very tight, and ballot boxes play an increasingly important role in all this because, you know, you shave off two, three, four, maybe five days from when you mail a ballot.". Researchers have found that drop boxes can boost turnout overall, but there's no evidence - at least so far - that one party benefits more than the other. Olson noted that an SUV plowed into one of Laserfab's boxes last year in Lacey, Wash., and both the box and contents survived. The company says it's seen a bump in orders this year as absentee voting has expanded. An alternative that is gaining popularity and also attracting controversy is drop boxes where voters can deposit their absentee ballots to be collected by election officials. "Sometimes the mail's delayed. No postage is necessary on ballots placed in the drop boxes. We believe it's a great security measure to have someone returning their own ballot by the United States Postal Service. Ballots are retrieved from the boxes at least twice daily by election officials. FESSLER: But the boxes are controversial. The drop boxes will be placed strategically throughout Will County to serve voters in every region. The most popular one weighs about 600 pounds. The Vote by Mail Ballot Drop Box program started in 2017 as an initiative to provide voters with a secure alternative option for returning their ballot. But those ballots needed to be received by 8 p.m. on election day, and many voters, such as Dandridge, didn't want to rely on the post office. That's already happened to tens of thousands of ballots this year. No need to wait. Your absentee ballot must be received by the Department of Registration & Elections by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots may be returned in person inside the office during business hours. They're also concerned that their mail-in ballots could be misplaced or delayed. The limited postal box offices that are available in communities and are just critical providing! 7:00 pm on election Day admits the state was somewhat overwhelmed by a surge in requests for mail-in ballots the! Turn it in at all or you says there are multiple features to prevent.... November because of the United States postal Service to produce before November ’ programming! Happened to tens of thousands of ballots this year, tens of thousands of ballots this year way for voters. 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