Secretary of State Issues Guidance on Ballot Drop Boxes

September 14, 2020

As cities consider using ballot drop boxes, the Office of the Secretary of State has outlined several legal and implementation considerations.

In response to the increase in absentee voting — and in order to respond to voter concerns about mail delivery times and the dangers of COVID-19 — many cities and counties are considering providing drop boxes or adding more of them.

Although cities in Minnesota have used drop boxes, they have not been as widely used here as in some other states. As cities look at expanding the use of or establishing drop boxes for the first time, the Office of Secretary of State (OSS) has issued a memo providing guidance on their use.

The guidance includes some proposed best practices to ensure the safety and security of ballots returned through a drop box, as well as best practices from states that have used drop boxes extensively for multiple elections. The memo also incorporates guidance from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and others.

—View the OSS memo (pdf)

While each city should evaluate its own specific circumstances, the OSS is encouraging jurisdictions that have not yet established a drop box to consider providing one or more drop boxes for voter use. They should also consider providing additional staffed ballot drop-off locations for the 2020 election.

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