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Ballot boxes: Minnesota delivers common sense

The state Legislature passed a law during the most recent session that standardizes the use of absentee ballot drop boxes.

photo of hands putting sample ballot into ballot dropbox slot
Minnesota statute now officially defines a drop box as a secure receptacle or container that is accessible 24 hours a day.
REUTERS/Mike Segar

As the messy debate about voting rights continues across the country, Minnesotans can collectively sigh in relief that one new measure having to do with voting makes straightforward Midwestern sense.

The state Legislature passed a law during the most recent session that standardizes the use of absentee ballot drop boxes.

Who would have thought such a simple act would amount to such glorious logic? As the Texas Legislature proposes banning drive-thru and 24-hour voting, making mail-in voting more difficult, increasing criminal penalties for voting mistakes, and giving partisan poll watchers more authority at voting sites, Minnesota lawmakers just completed a session in which they decided the hodge-podge approach to dropping off ballots needed attention.

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That doesn’t mean voting rights won’t continue to be debated in the Midwest — there were measures at the Minnesota Legislature that members did not agree on — but at least the session ended with a practical measure that speaks to making voting better for everyone.

Minnesota statute now officially defines a drop box as a secure receptacle or container that is accessible 24 hours a day.

Yes, like a corner U.S. mailbox but for absentee ballots instead of letters.

And just like a mailbox, they must be secure receptacles or containers that are accessible night and day (with video monitoring during the voting period). And like a mailbox, the boxes must be designed to prevent tampering, be protected from weather and emptied at least once per business day.

Yes, like the reliable mailboxes we’ve been using for a long time.

Such a simple action as standardizing those drop boxes is as comforting as knowing the postal carrier will make it through the snow, sleet and rain to deliver the mail. Voting should be as easy as mailing a letter, and as of today, Minnesota law says it is.

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Republished with permission.

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