What are ballot drop boxes? Yahoo News Explains

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. But what exactly are they — and how do they work? Drop boxes are similar to the blue Postal Service receptacles on a street corner — only they’re operated by county or local election officials and not by the post office. They offer an option for voters who are worried about the Postal Service losing their ballot, mishandling it or turning it in too late to be counted. Yahoo News Senior Political Correspondent Jon Ward explains everything you need to know about ballot drop boxes.

Video Transcript


JON WARD: You may have heard about ballot drop boxes lately.

- With absentee ballots expected to be at an all-time high, the city of Milwaukee next month is installing steel absentee ballot drop boxes.

- Drop boxes are being put up across Boston so that residents can vote by mail.

LESLIE KREMER: This is our absentee ballot box. It's specifically for people who are returning their absentee ballots for an election.

JON WARD: President Trump doesn't like them, tweeting that, "Among other things, they make it possible for a person to vote multiple times." That's false, and Twitter quickly flagged the tweet for violating rules about civic and election integrity.

Meanwhile, Michael Adams, who is Kentucky's Republican Secretary of State, and also a senior legal advisor to Vice President Mike Pence, had this to say.

MICHAEL ADAMS: It turns out that the Republicans like these better than the Democrats do because the Republicans have less confidence in the postal system and they're more likely to want to drop that and see it go into the bin. So actually, the drop boxes have been really popular.

JON WARD: So, what exactly are they? Drop boxes are basically like the blue postal service receptacles on the corner, only they're run by county or local elections officials and not by the post office. So they are a way for you to turn in a mail ballot way before the election without having to mail your ballot.

This is appealing to people who are worried about the postal service losing their ballot or mishandling it, or turning it in too late to be counted.

But not every state has drop boxes. In fact, slightly fewer than half the country has them, according to the most recent information compiled by the Voting Rights Lab. And in some states, some counties have drop boxes and some counties don't.

So it's very important to check with your local Board of Elections to see if your town or county has a drop box. Yahoo News has a list of links for every state, where you can locate your local Board of Elections. If you have questions call them and ask.

And we're publishing a list that will update, as things change, of which states do have drop boxes. In the meantime, we'll be keeping you up to date on the latest on ballot drop boxes and every other way you can cast your vote securely and safely this fall.