State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) is co-sponsoring legislation that would authorize local state Boards of Election to establish absentee ballot drop-off locations.
The bill (S.8902) would provide voters who do not want to rely on the mail service an additional option to return absentee ballots within their county or city of residence ahead of the upcoming general election. A ballot drop box provides a location where voters can drop off absentee/mail ballots in sealed and signed envelopes. The ballots are collected by the local BoE. A matching bill is in the Assembly (A 10942) sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan).
“Drop boxes provide voters an alternative to voting in-person, while helping to address the issue of thrown-out ballots due to mail delays,” Kaminsky said. “Many voters have expressed concerns that mailing their absentee ballots may not make it to the Board of Elections on time, or otherwise not be counted. The addition of drop-off boxes will complement mailing absentee ballots, as well as early in-person voting and Election Day in-person voting, giving voters ample options to have their ballot counted.”
At least 11 states provide ballot drop boxes in some of their counties: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
Under the bill, there would be notice given for the locations of these drop-off boxes by posting such information on their websites. On Election Day, absentee ballots must be received prior to the close of the polls. At the close of polls, the BoE will close every absentee ballot drop-box and collect the ballots for counting.