POUGHKEEPSIE – On Tuesday, Democratic Elections Commissioner Elizabeth “Beth” Soto joined her Republican Commissioner counterpart Erik Haight in announcing that every polling location, including all five “Early Voting Supersites,” will offer ballot drop-boxes to allow voters to skip-the-line and safely return their absentee ballots.
The Board of Elections will purchase 115 ballot-boxes costing $150 each, plus shipping costs of $1,275, for a total cost of $18,525 which will be deployed during Early Voting and Election Day.
“As the political climate intensifies and attacks on the Postal Service erode the integrity of mailing, we want to ensure voters can safely vote knowing that their ballots will arrive at the Board of Elections (BOE) and be counted,” said Commissioner Soto. “We are encouraging voters who feel uncomfortable with mailing in their absentee ballots to utilize this method to cast their ballots.”
To ensure the safety of the ballot drop-boxes on election night, they will be transported by Dutchess County Sheriff’s Deputies and be opened by a bipartisan team at the BOE. The team will begin the curing process and prepare for the absentee ballots to be counted after Election day, as per Election Law.
“Protecting the accuracy and integrity, as well as voter confidence in our elections is paramount to the Dutchess County Board of Elections,” said Commissioner Haight. “We are considering every step when deploying new methods that allow voters to safely cast their ballots and will continue to develop cutting-edge plans that allow us to adapt to the ever-evolving conditions of the pandemic.”
Voters can apply for an absentee ballot for the General Election by checking temporary illness as an excuse for the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 20,000 absentee ballots have been requested in Dutchess County. An estimated 60,000 to 80,000 absentee ballots will be mailed out for the General election.