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Securing Virginia's ballot drop boxes

Outdoor drop boxes for ballots kind of look like library drop boxes, bulky structures that are under 24-hour video surveillance and impervious to being knocked over by a school bus or blown away in a hurricane.

The legal requirements for security of these things has actually eased concerns among some critics of drop boxes, including Zack Smith at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "If a state is going to use drop boxes," Smith said, "then making sure they are secured as Virginia has done is very important."

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The bill to allow drop boxes was introduced by Senator Creigh Deeds, a Democrat from Bath County who noted that Virginia has now gone through two election cycles with no problems. "There are always going to be people that scream about fraud. But there have not been any situations where fraud has been alleged and proven with regard to a drop box in Virginia," Deeds said.

If election officials don't want to go through the time and expense of having an outdoor drop box under 24-hour video surveillance, they have the option of having a staffed drop box instead. This could be, for example, at the reception desk of the registrar’s office where someone could keep an eye on it as people drop off their vote and leave.

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.