Ballot Boxes are the Next Battleground of Republican Voter Suppression

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While the U.S. gears up for an increase of ballots by mail, Democrats are promoting ballot boxes as a secure alternative to mailboxes while the U.S. Postal Service is under Republican attack.

Now Republicans in several states are fighting to prevent the use of ballot boxes.

The Trump campaign is suing the state of Pennsylvania, a key battleground state, alleging ballot boxes could enable voting fraud, arguing that people could drop off multiple ballots in boxes that are unstaffed, which is an illegal practice in Pennsylvania. Proponents say stuffing a ballot into a locked drop box is no different from dropping one into a Postal Service letter box.

In Ohio, the Republican Secretary of State said last week that he did not want to risk a similar lawsuit as he announced that he would authorize one drop box for each of the state’s 88 counties. He said the Republican-controlled legislature had not given him the authority to provide more.

Tennessee’s Secretary of State said that drop boxes could enable people to violate a state law against collecting ballots.

Missouri’s Secretary of State decided not to distribute 80 drop boxes he had purchased because state law requires those ballots to be returned by mail.

Meanwhile, Michigan and Wisconsin are adding drop boxes.

In Florida, Democrats in Miami-Dade County are seeking to remove some procedural hurdles to make drop boxes easier for voters to use.

Miami-Dade voters must provide election officials with valid identification when dropping off a ballot at a drop box. Election workers also manually record a 14-digit number printed on the voter’s envelope into a log.

The whole process can take up to three minutes, the Democratic Party said in a letter to local election officials seeking to allow voters to drop their ballots quickly without the processing requirements.

Security measures vary by state. In Montana, ballot boxes must be staffed by two election officials, and in New Mexico, they are monitored by video.

In Colorado, Oregon and Washington, more than half of mail ballots were returned either to a drop box or to an election office in the 2016 election. 

The White House says that Trump never told the Postal Service to change its operations, but making drop boxes easier to use and bypassing the postal system altogether is part of the solution to voter suppression and the likelihood of Trump crying about a rigged election and contesting the results.

Story at Reuters.