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Drop Boxes and Mail-In Ballots: Should Pandemic-Related Election Changes Be Permanent?

Many of the pandemic-related changes to Virginia elections might end up being permanent.

Those drop boxes from the election last year might just end up being a permanent feature of elections in Virginia.  


Tram Nguyen at Virginia New Majority says if the experience last year was a pilot program, lawmakers should continue it indefinitely. 



“Virginia had a wildly successful election because of these changes and because of the hard work of our election officers and registrars and so we strongly support permanently codifying these changes," Nguyen says. 


Julia Tanner at the League of Women Voters says she used a drop box last year, and she can personally testify to how convenient it was. 


"Access to the ballot box strengthens the integrity of our democracy," Tanner explains. "Some voters want the assurance of hand delivery, but waiting in line can be problematic if they need to return quickly to a job or a sick family member or a baby." 


The House and Senate have both approved similar bills requiring every local government to have drop boxes for future elections. Now, the bills also create a way for election officials to cure flawed ballots, allowing them to contact voters and fix errors rather than throwing those ballots out. 


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association. 

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.