By Melissa Horste
It’s the day before election day. Jane has her absentee ballot in hand, but can’t find a stamp and the post office is closed. She has to head out of town for a work trip in the morning and doesn’t have time to vote in person. Plus, Jane isn’t sure what would happen if she did try to vote and what to do with her absentee ballot. This election is important and Jane really wants to vote, but is overwhelmed with work, kids, and a multitude of other commitments that are competing for her attention.
What is Jane to do?
The answer is simple: Jane drops her absentee ballot off at her secure drop box on her way to the airport. It is free, fast and convenient, and she makes her flight with plenty of time to spare.
Jane, like many absentee voters, receives her absentee ballot in the mail, but a large proportion of absentee voters use other methods to return their ballot. In 2020, 25% of Detroit absentee voters returned their ballot via secure drop box. Reasons can vary from the cost of postage (the price of stamps are going up again!) to timing (wait, election day is tomorrow?!?!) to concerns about mail delivery (my grandson’s birthday card got lost in the mail!).
Drop boxes can eliminate barriers for some voters who can rest easy knowing that their ballot was received in time to be counted. However in order to use it, voters need to know where their drop box is located.
Voters Not Politicians Education Fund (Voters Ed Fund) is relaunching MichiganDropBox.com, a free, thoroughly vetted, rigorously tested, and easy-to-use website that allows voters to find their secure drop boxes by entering the address at which they are registered. The locator tool also features:
- Municipal clerk office hours of service (including special hours of expanded access leading up to election day);
- Mobile devices optimization; and
- One-tap functionality for driving directions in Google Maps.
This summer, the Voters Ed Fund is working with Menlo Innovations to update the tool and make sure it is durable enough to handle spikes in traffic around election day. Additionally, our volunteers and staff will verify that the information on MichiganDropBox.com is 100% accurate. Not every clerk’s office in Michigan has a website, let alone an up-to-date website, which is why in 2020, our staff and volunteers contacted 1,246 municipalities by phone and email to get the data right.
We Need You to Get the MichiganDropBox.com in the Hands of Voters
The clock is ticking and the August Primary is quickly approaching. The Voters Ed Fund needs to raise $50,000 by July 15th to put MichiganDropBox.com in the hands of absentee voters in time for the August Primary.
Your tax-deductible contribution today will support:
- The development of the locator tool by Menlo Innovations;
- Voters Ed Fund staff and volunteers as they verify each drop box location; and
- Promotion of the locator tool through text messaging and digital advertising.
If we surpass our goal, then we can use more methods to connect with voters. Without MichiganDropBox.com, absentee voters will have one less tool at their disposal in this tumultuous election year.