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Election officials say drop boxes are safe & secure way to vote

Posted at 6:26 PM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 19:26:03-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The election commissioners of the metro’s two biggest counties have said they expect a record number of residents to receive a ballot in the mail this fall.

While many will mail their ballot back, some concerned with potential post office delays will be using drop boxes instead.

“Voters can just drive up. They're open 24/7,” says Justine Kessler, elections manager for Douglas County.

But some have raised security concerns about drop boxes, most notably the President of the United States.

Over the past week President Donald Trump has questioned who is going to collect the ballots and where they are going to be placed.

Douglas County election officials say using these drop boxes that are spread around the county are a very safe way to vote.

Beginning in late September, once ballots start to get mailed out, every weekday an employee will head to all the drop boxes and grab the ballots and take them directly to the election commission office.

“It’s our staff that picks them up, then there’s no middle person, it comes directly to us, there’s no in between,” says Kessler.

Sarpy County has been using drop boxes since 2010.

Elections Commissioner Michelle Andahl says they vet and hire a bi-partisan team to open the double locked steel doors and grab the ballots daily.

She says it’s as safe as voting in person.

“Everything is checked inside to make sure the locks have not been tampered with. The team puts them in a bag with a safety seal and then brings them back to our office and they’re not opened until they’re returned to us,” says Andahl.

To ensure election security, Douglas County announced Monday they’re even buying new drop boxes for the November election.

"They’re showing some age, they’re also showing some rust, and these are just larger more secure models. They’re stainless steel and we thought now would be the time to go ahead and replace them,” says Kessler.

Currently Douglas County has nine drop boxes and Sarpy County has four.

Douglas County plans to add four before November, while Sarpy will likely add a few more, to ensure residents in all the cities in the county can drop off their ballot.