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Getting Answers: How Does Vote by Mail Drop-off Work?

TAMPA, Fla. – First, it was mail-in voting. On Monday, it’s ballot drop-off sites for mail in voting. President Trump casted doubt on early voting.

What You Need To Know

On Monday the president tweeted “Some states use “drop boxes” for the collection of Universal Mail-In Ballots. So who is going to “collect” the Ballots, and what might be done to them prior to tabulation? A Rigged Election? So bad for our Country. Only Absentee Ballots acceptable!”

To answer the president’s question, who collects the ballots?

Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer, who’s also the chair of the statewide Supervisors of Elections officers, explained how it works.

“We have a locked, sealed ballot box that you drop that ballot into,” Latimer said.  “And it’s manned by workers who are never left alone and constantly under eyes.”

Hillsborough County has four Supervisor of Elections offices, therefore they have four vote by mail drop-off sites.

By Florida law, elections offices must also provide drop-off at Early Voting polling locations.

If you miss the opportunity to drop off during Early Voting, there are options.

If you find yourself in the same situation on Monday–the day before the primary, as on Monday, November 2–the day before the general election, where you have a vote by mail ballot you have not mailed, Latimer explained what you should do.

“A couple of things, it’s too late to mail it at that point for sure,” explained Latimer.  “The only thing you could do is drop it off at the Supervisor’s office or you can surrender that and spoil it and vote in person on Tuesday.”

If you’re still unsure about your mail-in ballot getting in on time, you don’t even have to have it on hand to vote in person.

“If you’re tracking a ballot back to my office and it doesn’t show it’s been received by Tuesday go vote in person,” Latimer said.  “And then if we get your ballot it will be canceled. As soon as you check in to vote, it’ll cancel your mail-in ballot.”

In fact, as soon as you receive your vote by mail ballot for the general election, you can drop it off at any of the county Supervisor of Elections offices, despite early voting not officially starting.

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