With the COVID-19 pandemic and USPS funding issues affecting people's ability to vote in the upcoming election, many are worried about making sure their voices are heard. However, additional options for mail-in ballots are available, and voting is more crucial this year than ever. And despite the narrative President Donald Trump has tried to push about vote-by-mail fraud, mail-in ballots are extremely accurate. Around 50 percent of Americans don't vote, but we can improve that and change our country for the better. If you're opting for a mail-in ballot this year, here are different places to drop it off to ensure your vote is counted.
Return Your Ballot to a Drop Box
If you request a ballot, you can return it by placing it in a local drop box, which are monitored by cameras or election workers at all times. These boxes can be found near libraries, college campuses, public transit routes, city or county offices, community centres, and more. The number of drop boxes varies by state, but the EAC (US Election Assistance Commission) recommends counties install one drop box for every 15,000 to 20,000 registered voters. Check with your local government to find a drop box location nearest you.
Drop Off Your Ballot at a Local Election Office
Most states allow people to drop off their ballots at their local election office. Check for a a list of offices near your area, and don't forget to wear a mask when you go!
Drop Off Your Ballot at a Polling Site
According to the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures), 11 states as well as Washington, D.C. are allowing you to drop off your ballot at any voting site. Those states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Two other states, New Hampshire and Vermont, allow voters to drop off their ballots at assigned precincts on election day.
Have Someone Drop Off Your Ballot for You
If you're sick or immunocompromised, 10 states will allow a family member specifically to drop off your ballot for you, and 26 states will allow you to designate someone to drop off your ballot for you. Thirteen states have yet to comment or lay out a plan for this method. However, know some states have a limit on how many ballots a person can drop off. The NCSL has a comprehensive breakdown on who can collect and return an absentee ballot other than the voter.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Make sure you request your ballot now and return it on time. Officials usually need ballots returned by election day, which is Nov. 3 this year, but some states will accept them later if they were postmarked before that day. Check out specific information for your state.
If you have any questions or want to ensure you know all necessary information, check out Vote.org or call 866-OUR-VOTE. To support the election further, consider working the polls or donating to Pizza at the Polls, which will send snacks to people waiting in long voting lines.
And one final reminder to make sure all you do is done safely and takes current COVID-19 guidelines in mind. Your vote matters so don't let anything stop you from having your voice heard in 2020!