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Oregon led the way on ballot drop boxes

The 2020 election saw the expansion of ballot drop boxes for mail ballots in many states, leading to claims of fraud. Oregon election officials and Oregon voters won’t be surprised to learn that those claims themselves are fraudulent. This state has led the way in the use of drop boxes for more than two decades with no hint of a problem.

Still, drop boxes were a new experience for many in the first presidential election conducted under the threat of the coronavirus pandemic. Given the bitterly contested election, it was not surprising that those who came out on the short end pointed to the expansion of drop boxes in an attempt to argue that the result was illegitimate, and have worked since then to restrict their use.

The Associated Press surveyed state election officials across the country to ask if they had encountered any issues of fraud, vandalism or theft. All but five states responded, and none of them reported any instances in which drop boxes were connected to voter fraud or stolen ballots, and none reported incidents in which the boxes or ballots were damaged to the extent that election results would have been affected.

The states responding include those controlled by Democrats and by Republicans.

As Oregon voters know, drop boxes are a secure, convenient way to deliver their mail ballots to elections departments without worrying about U.S. Postal Service delays. Jackson County maintains eight drop boxes, situated at public libraries and at the county Elections Department. They are available 24 hours a day and close at 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Voting by mail is secure and safe, and drop boxes add to the convenience for voters. In fact, mail ballots are more secure than some electronic voting machine systems, because they rely on paper ballots that are verified and retained in case any question is raised about an outcome. The machines that tally the ballots are not connected to the internet, so they cannot be hacked remotely. And audits of results can be conducted on the actual ballots themselves, providing a paper trail that some electronic systems do not offer.

None of these facts make any difference to those who are convinced that the 2020 election was “stolen,” despite the lack of any evidence that it was. The misinformation runs so deep that in North Carolina, which does not allow drop boxes and did not use them in 2020, people still claim that drop box fraud somehow occurred.

Oregonians know better. Voting by mail has been universal here for years, and drop boxes just make it that much more convenient.