Vote by mail drop boxes added to campus

by Shelbi Voss

With the presidential election less than a month away, students across campus are deciding on the best way to cast their vote. A new addition to the main quad might make the decision a bit easier.

Recently a voting drop box was placed in front of the Illini Union. The box can be used by students who are voting by mail to send in their ballot without having to go through the U.S. Postal Service.

Voting drop boxes are beginning to make appearances in a number of counties in Illinois. The new initiative comes from Governor J.B. Pritzker’s recent law allowing for new voting methods in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. These options were set in place to help reduce the number of people voting in person in order to maintain the health and safety of both voters and those working the polls.

Concern over voting methods arose after President Donald Trump made controversial claims about the possibility of fraudulent voting if people chose to mail in their ballots. Mail-in voting is not new to Illinois though, as the practice has been growing since 2010. As of Friday nearly 2 million Illinois voters had registered for mail-in voting.

Expanding the use of drop boxes was enacted to assist in managing the influx of ballots sent to the U.S. Postal Service after necessary funding was refused in light of voter fraud concerns. Without the funds the Postal Service would be incapable of sorting and returning all of the ballots on time, as a result of the growing numbers for mail-in voting.

The boxes are to be locked at all times and emptied daily. Emails are to be sent to voters after their ballot has been received or notifying them of any possible issues with the ballot. Voters have been especially encouraged to use the boxes in the two weeks before the election.

Champaign County has ten other drop box locations including the Champaign County Clerk’s Office, the Champaign Public Library and the Urbana Free Library. Most of the locations are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while others are only available from 1-3 p.m. every Saturday in October. Those that are open for everyday use will be accessible until Election Day, November 3 until 7 p.m.