Kaminsky to co-sponsor senate bill establishing absentee ballot drop-off locations

Matthew Ferremi for Long Island Herald

August 25, 2020

Originally published in Long Island Herald on August 25, 2020.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) is cosponsoring legislation that would authorize local Boards of Election in the state to establish absentee ballot drop-off locations as a means for delivery of absentee ballots. 

The bill (S.8902) would provide voters who do not want to rely on the mail service an additional option to return their 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. These ballots are then collected directly by the local BOE. There's a matching bill in the Assembly (A 10942) sponsored by Assemblymember 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 compliment 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.” 

Currently, at least eleven 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.