Metal boxes, bolted to the sidewalk, and featuring the state of Connecticut seal, have been placed in front of local city halls, so voters can drop their primary absentee ballot applications there, as well as the ballots to be sent out.
They are at curbside and say: Official Ballot Drop Box. In New Haven, one is near the entrance to the Hall of Records at 200 Orange St., where the city clerk’s office is located; one is at the curb near the handicapped entrance to the Hall of Records.
Gabe Rosenberg, spokesman for the secretary of the state’s office, said the boxes are fabricated by American Security Cabinets, a company that has been in this business for years, serving other states that long have had mail-in voting.
He said the safety rules are overseen by the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is part of Homeland Security.
The American Security Cabinets website said they have been in this business for 40 years and the drop boxes are made from high grade, heavy gauge, brushed stainless steel. Rosenthal said they are tamper-proof.
He said many other states have been using mail-in ballots for years, both red states such as Utah and Montana and blue states like Oregon and California.
May Gardner-Reed, deputy city clerk in New Haven, said they have already received 3,000 applications for absentee ballots for the Aug. 11 primary.
“It is a little bit overwhelming,” she said of the increased numbers of voters taking advantage of an absentee ballot at a time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sec. of the State Denise Merrill has sent out absentee ballot applications to all qualified voters and Gov. Ned Lamont, by executive order, has added fear of the spread of the coronavirus as a reason a voter can opt to use an absentee ballot, rather than vote in person.
The state legislature has to approve using this excuse as a reason to vote by absentee ballot in the Nov. 3 General Election.
Merrill, in an op-ed, said the drop boxes are secure and provide for contact-less delivery of absentee ballots, minimizing risk of infection from COVID-19.
Only the town clerks have keys to the drop boxes.
“No voter should ever have to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote. Drop boxes allow voters to cast their ballots safely and conveniently,” Merrill wrote.
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