Drop boxes now open for absentee ballots in Chatham County

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – There are now seven drop boxes available for absentee voters in Chatham County.

“This slot is barely wide enough to fit in one ballot,” Colin McRae, chair of Chatham County Board of Registrars, in an effort to point out the security features of the specially made drop box.

He met with reporters Wednesday at the Liberty City Community Center, where one of the drop boxes has been installed. There are five others now available at the Savannah Civic Center, W.W. Law Center, Savannah State, UGA Extension Center in Garden City and Chatham County Police Department on Whitemarsh Island.

Another has been at the main election office at 1117 Eisenhower Drive since the June primary.

Chatham Co. absentee ballot drop boxes locations:

  • Southwest Library
  • Whitemarsh Island Chatham County Police Precinct
  • Savannah State University
  • UGA Extension building in Garden City
  • Civic Center
  • WW Law Community Center
  • Carver Village Community Center
  • Liberty City Community Center
  • Election office on Eisenhower Drive

McRae says the boxes, which are monitored by surveillance cameras, are tamper-proof and have been spread out throughout the county to provide convenience for voters.

Two other drop boxes will also be available soon at Southwest Library and Village Community Center.

Election officials demonstrated the process of how ballots are being collected by special collection teams. The box must be unlocked in two places. The ballots are removed and the number of ballots is recorded. Then, the ballots are put inside a secure bag for transport.

Starting next week, ballots at all boxes will be collected every 24 hours.

McRae says anyone on the collection team has been vetted in terms of security and even fingerprints.

“Everyone that’s volunteered to be on these collection teams has been properly trained and deputized through taking an oath,” said McRae.

He said over 43,000 absentee ballots have already been requested in Chatham County and about 5,000 ballots have been returned.

McRae says it’s important that people understand the ballots must be received by the elections office by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. He says having a ballot postmarked Nov. 3 will not be good enough.

Again, the ballot must be in their hands.

“We will have collection teams at the drop boxes at 7 p.m. on election night to make sure we get all ballots,” said McRae.

“And for those who are not comfortable with the absentee ballot process, there’s always the early voting period which starts Monday, Oct. 12,” he added.

He says they have six locations for early in-person voting this election

“Those sites are the main office on Eisenhower, (1117 Eisenhower), the Pooler Recreational Center, the Civic Center, the Southwest Library, the Islands Library and Mosquito Control,” said McRae.

Still, the chair knows that absentees are important this year.

“The earlier you can get your absentee ballots back to us the better it is for us and the overall process,” said McRae. “It allows our staff to start logging them, processing them, sorting them and signature comparison, etc. It’s getting them ready to hand over to the Board of Elections (on Nov. 3) where they will eventually be tabulated.”

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