New ballot drop boxes being installed around Chatham County

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Earlier this year, the State Election Board voted to allow Georgians to turn in their absentee ballots at drop boxes.

The move was made in an effort to reduce in-person contact on Election Day, amid COVID-19 concerns.

The Chatham County Board of Registrars last week unveiled eight drop boxes, funded by the local chapter of the League of Women Voters.

The board’s goal was to have one box in each of Chatham County’s eight districts:

  • 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

A ninth box is already in use at the election office on Eisenhower Drive.

Chatham County Board of Registrars Chairman Colin McRae, along with Savannah City Council members, unveiled the drop box at the Savannah Civic Center on Tuesday. It’s set up on the Montgomery Street side by the drive-thru.

“So you can actually slip it in without getting out of your car,” said McRae.

Not all of the boxes are ready to go at this time.

The chairman said the boxes came from an official vendor, as is required by the state election bulletin. Two separate keys must be used simultaneously to open the boxes.

The narrow slot deters any tampering, the boxes will be bolted to concrete, and security cameras will monitor them 24/7.

Once all are installed, teams of two (one permanent board member and one volunteer) will pick up and log ballots from the boxes at least every 72 hours. Starting three weeks out from Nov. 3, the boxes will be checked daily.

It’s not clear if the boxes will remain installed for future elections, but McRae welcomes the idea and sees the potential for even more boxes.

“The more that can be done to lessen the pressure on Election Day, the better it is for the overall process,” he said.

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