DPG Issues Comment On SEB Ruling on Ballot Drop Boxes

April 15, 2020

ATLANTA – Today, with little public notice, the State Election Board allowed counties to provide ballot drop boxes for the June 9th primary, while refusing to support counties in this endeavor by providing state funding or additional resources to do so. Ballot drop boxes are secure metal boxes where voters can drop off their vote-by-mail ballots postage free, and without interacting with other individuals. 

Democratic Party of Georgia Voter Protection Director Saira Draper issued the following statement: 

“Offering counties the option to put up drop boxes for ballots, without providing them the support or resources needed to do so, is an empty gesture by the Secretary of State. Our county elections officials are dealing with unprecedented challenges right now, including processing an unprecedented number of applications to vote by mail and staff shortages. 

If counties have the funding and guidance from the Secretary of State to be able to set up drop boxes quickly, drop boxes would alleviate some of the challenges they face now. But without the support of the state, this option is meaningless for many counties, and voters will be the ones who suffer.”

At today’s State Election Board Meeting, the DPG called for the following reforms regarding ballot drop boxes: 

  1. Drop boxes must be fully funded by the state. Georgia has received 10 million federal dollars for elections through the CARE Act that are “use it or lose it” funds — ballot access is the most important use of this funding. Each county should be offered funds for at least one drop box, and jurisdictions with larger voting populations should be provided funds for additional drop boxes commensurate with the population. 
  2. Drop boxes must be plentiful and accessible 24/7 in order for them to be fully utilized. Offering drop boxes behind locked doors available only for certain times carries the same risks as in person voting — we must allow Georgians to drop off their ballots at the time that works for them and in a manner that is safe. 
  3. Drop boxes must be made available in advance in line with Georgia’s early vote period. We know that drop boxes are a secure, viable alternative to forcing Georgians to endanger themselves by voting in person — we must give voters sufficient notice of where to find drop boxes in their county, and provide that alternative for every day of voting, not just Election Day.


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