Voting by mail: How to know if drop boxes are safe and secure

For the first time, vote by mail ballots are being mailed to all registered voters due to the pandemic. 

Voting started on Monday in California. Some voters will drop them off at the post office, while others may be using the various remote drop boxes throughout the area. 

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Some voters may not trust the drop boxes' security, so we talked to Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley. He said, "I understand the concerns, and they need to also understand that we have a role as election officials to make sure this is a sound process." 

When asked about the security of the ballots, San Bernardino County Registrar Bob Page said, "The first thing I want to say to all voters is that this is their ballot. While we're required for this election to mail a ballot to every voter, it's really the choice about how to vote that lies with the voter  what they believe is the safest and most secure way of returning the ballots."

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One way is the remote ballot boxes. Although they may look like you can walk away with them, some drop boxes weigh over 1,000 pounds and have a quarter-inch steel barrier. 

Kelley said, "If you have a vehicle hit that box the poor vehicle is destroyed."

In Ventura County, there are 34 scattered around. The ones in Orange county even have fire suppression and protections from liquid damage.

LA County's Registrar was not available for this story, but they have 400 boxes in the county. They're bolted to the concrete from the inside, and there's an exterior coating to reduce permanent graft or damage.

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As far as when the ballots are collected:

  • In Orange County, ballots are removed daily. 
  • In Ventura County, the are collected daily except weekends. 
  • In Los Angeles County, they are collected every 72 hours.
  • In San Bernardino County every 96 hours, but after October 23rd they will be collected no more than every 48 hours. 
  • In Riverside County, they will not be using the big drop boxes; instead, they'll be using abut 80 blue plastic box collected, which they say is more secure since two postal service employees in each location will manage them.
When vote-by-mail ballots are collected from LA area drop boxes.

When vote-by-mail ballots are collected from LA area drop boxes. (FOX 11)

Kelley says, "This is a secure process. It's hard to cut through the white noise and the politics, and I understand that. But, track your ballot. Understand it.  Our desire and our goal is to ensure your ballot is treated with respect and is counted. That's what we're going to do."

For a list of remote drop box locations, visit the state's drop box database.

To track where your ballot is located once you send it off, visit the 'Where's My Ballot' section of the state's website.