New Jersey voters can drop their ballots in drop boxes this election.
While the coronavirus pandemic in the United States slowly improves every day, the country isn’t out of the clear just yet. But with the general election less than two months away, how will people cast their votes without catching COVID-19?
Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) says voting by mail is key. During a House Select Committee hearing, Kim expressed his concern with New Jersey experiencing another coronavirus wave in the fall and winter.
“What keeps me up at night is the concern about a second wave later on this year.” Kim said, “Being from New Jersey, I’m worrying about us hitting some type of level of spread that we had in New Jersey back in March or April, and having that type of concern in late October or November. I pray that doesn’t happen, but it’s something that’s very much on my mind.”
New Jersey voters all have the option of dropping their ballots in drop boxes this year. (Find your drop box location here.) Kim pushed for that option throughout the country, and medical professionals have backed him up.
“The safest way to vote is going to be voting by mail,” said Krutika Kuppalli M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. “Implementing all these other ways of voting also helps limit the transmission of coronavirus.”
If adopted throughout the country, these drop boxes would allow people to place their ballots with less potential COVID-19 exposure than a traditional polling place.
But Republicans have claimed, without evidence, that drop boxes will bring increased voter fraud and more uncounted ballots. During the hearing, Rep. Kim asked Kristen Clarke, Executive Director of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, if there’s any merit to those claims. Clarke assured the committee that drop boxes are reliable.
“Drop boxes are used in many communities throughout the country. They are safe. They are secure. They are monitored by officials and provide another safe way for voters to deposit their absentee ballots,” said Clarke.
Clarification: This article was updated with new information from the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Elections on drop box locations, and clarified that New Jersey voters can use drop boxes for the General Election.