Amid concerns over mail ballots, Democrats embrace drop boxes

Amid concerns over mail ballots, Democrats embrace drop boxes

With the Postal Service telling states in recent weeks that it can not guarantee the timely delivery of voting ballots by mail, Democrats are moving quickly to endorse the idea of installing extra 'drop boxes' at libraries and government offices, to allow voters to drop off their ballot instead of sending in the mail.

"Voting is fundamental to our democracy," Gov. Ralph Northam (D) of Virginia said this week, as he proposed a series of election law changes to help people vote this November.

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The plans include the state paying the postage for absentee-by-mail ballots in Virginia, as well as more secure drop boxes if people choose not to send their ballot through the Postal Service.

Drop boxes have already become a partisan flash point, as Republicans in Ohio have resisted expanding the number of boxes to receive ballots, and President Trump's campaign has sued states like Pennsylvania over the drop box issue.

About 1.5 million people in Pennsylvania voted by mail in the state's June primary election, taking advantage of a new law which allows people to either vote in person, or request a vote by mail ballot.

The web page of the Pennsylvania Republican Party fully embraces the idea - "Vote Safe by mail from Home" it says, with a photo of a smiling President Trump in the background.

Some counties in the Philadelphia area are now exploring the idea of setting up satellite early voting centers, which could also receive drop-offs of mail ballots.

With Postal Service officials telling states that they cannot guarantee the timely delivery of election ballots in November, Democrats told a federal court in Pennsylvania that it made no sense for the Trump Campaign to be contesting additional drop-box locations.

Drop boxes are routinely used for elections by states which have mail-in ballots - like the President’s home state of Florida, where elections officials routinely advertise the option for voters.

“You can vote in person or drop off your completed vote-by-mail ballot in a secure drop box,” said Wendy Sartory Link, the Supervisor of Elections in Palm Beach County, where President Trump votes.

But the President has raised sinister implications about the drop boxes, which are tended by election workers.

“So who is going to “collect” the Ballots, and what might be done to them prior to tabulation?” the President tweeted this month.