Official ballot boxes aim to preserve voting security

Camille Grochowski | Banner

Since the 2020 election took  place during the pandemic, voting occurred differently.

This election was many California Baptist University students’ first time voting in a presidential election.

Spencer Quinto, senior aviation management major, is a second-time voter but said he is still excited to vote.

“I find it important to vote because it is my civic duty,” Quinto said.

California is one of nine states that automatically mailed ballots to all registered voters. Other states include Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Washington.

“I think it is a useful strategy for enabling people to vote without having to go to the polls, given fears of the pandemic,” said Dr. Chase Porter, assistant professor of political science. “Given that voter registration is an intentional choice, I see no issue with sending ballots to those who are actively registered. Of course, this does raise issues of people receiving ballots incorrectly because of a change of address, but that is why there are procedures in place to validate signatures upon ballot returns.”

Ballots do not have to be received by mail until Nov. 20 in California. However, they do have to be postmarked by Election Day. This can lead to a potential delay in election results.

“I believe a delay in results is inevitable when the ballot-by-mail option becomes more popular,” said Robbie Mohn, senior mechanical engineer major. “Just like the increase in mailing around Christmas time causes shipping delays, the current mail-in ballot system is causing delays.”

Some people tend to prefer mailing in their ballots and others prefer to vote in-person, so states provide both options. However, because more people voted by mail this year, states have made the process safer by allowing people to use official ballot boxes to drop off their ballots. Drop boxes can be available around the clock which allowed voters to go at their convenience or to avoid crowds during election season.

The Elections Assistance Commission gave recommendations to states about how to ensure that drop boxes are safe and effective. It recommended for states to have a strict chain of procedures that ensures that only authorized election officials handle the ballots. They also recommend for the boxes to have 24/7 video monitoring. The boxes also have to be secured and locked, whereas home mailboxes do not have to be. If people have a concern about ballot security, these precautions can help alleviate that concern.

“Voting is a way of exercising the right we have to participate in the governance of our country,” Porter said. “While my one vote is not determinative of the election outcome from a mathematical perspective, voting is a right that many people do not have worldwide. Thus, it is incumbent on me to be a good steward of that right by voting.”

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