//Grant applications for absentee ballot drop boxes reopen

Grant applications for absentee ballot drop boxes reopen

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(ATLANTA)-Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has reopened the application process for absentee ballot drop box grants to counties that have not previously received funding. As voters take advantage of Georgia’s no-excuse absentee ballot voting system to vote safely from home, the drop boxes allow voters to return their absentee ballots with confidence.

“Georgia has successfully maintained several ways for voters to access the ballot throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Raffensperger. “Our first round of grants resulted in the installation of 144 absentee boxes, providing a safe and secure way for Georgians to vote by absentee ballot. I encourage every county to take advantage of the grant program and install a drop box ahead of the November elections.”

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has reopened the grant application process for counties seeking to install absentee ballot drop boxes for the November general election. Counties who have not yet taken advantage of the grant can apply for up to $3,000 to offset up to 75% of the cost, including purchase and installation, of the absentee ballot drop box. The county’s grant application window is open now until September 15, 2020. 

The State Election Board that Raffensperger chairs passed an emergency rule allowing absentee ballot drop boxes ahead of the June 9 combined Presidential Preference Primary and statewide general primaries. Raffensperger spearheaded the renewal of the absentee ballot box rule on July 1, 2020.

According to the State Election Board rule, absentee ballot drop boxes must be video monitored continuously and have adequate lighting. The video recording must be retained by county registrars until either 30 days after the final certification of the election or the conclusion of any election on the ballot in the county, whichever is later. The boxes must be located on county or municipal government property that is generally accessible to the public. The absentee ballot boxes must be securely fixed to the ground, be strong enough to withstand vandalism or bad weather, and must be constructed to prevent the tampering or removal of ballots.

More details are available here.

Georgia is recognized as a national leader in elections. It was the first state in the country to implement the trifecta of automatic voter registration, at least 16 days of early voting (which has been called the “gold standard”), and no-excuse absentee voting. Georgia continues to set records for voter turnout and election participation, seeing the largest increase in average turnout of any state in the 2018 midterm election and record primary turnout in 2020, with over 1.1 million absentee-by-mail voters and over 1.2 million in-person voters utilizing Georgia’s new, secure, paper ballot voting system.