There’s now a more convenient ballot drop box installed in front of the Athens County Courthouse by the Athens County Board of Elections.
The original ballot drop box, located around the back of the Elections Office, is still there and maintained by staff members.
The new option allows for drive-by drop-off access. The box is for ballots and absentee ballot applications and according to Debbie Quivey, director of the Athens County Board of Elections, the boxes are checked “constantly.”
Having two ballot drop boxes has caused some legal consternation in the state, but Quivey maintained that the Athens office will not have issues thanks to the legal counsel of the Ohio Secretary of State. The lawyer told Quivey that issues would arise if the office only has one entrance and if the second box was not located near the elections office.
The boxes are monitored via cameras and have been illuminated to increase safety. However, Quivey did note that the boxes, while still on camera, are not monitored overnight as there are no employees in the office.
The elections office is once again open to the public, but is requiring all visitors and employees to wear a face mask. Ballot applications and ballots may be submitted in-person to the office’s staff.
Right now, voters should be considering how they would like to vote: absentee, early in-person, or day-of at the polls. Quivey noted that absentee ballots can also be mailed in to the office, and will be mailed to voters on Oct. 6, 2020. All ballots received by 7:30 p.m. on Nov 3., Election Day, in the drop-boxes and at the polls, will be included in the night’s unofficial count.
Absentee ballot applications have already surpassed the amount received for the 2016 presidential election — over 6,000 applications have been submitted to the office, blowing past the 4,500 requests in 2016.
“We are going to be open for in-person voting,” Quivey confirmed, but noted that she does not want to encourage voters to choose one option over another, but just present what challenges or benefits each option presents.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Board of Elections Office, located at 15 S. Court St., can only accept three customers in the building at a time. Quivey predicts this will result in lines, and noted that it may be faster for voters to vote at the polls on Election Day.
The Board is still seeking poll workers, but Quivey noted that she believes the county is in “good shape” at the moment. She is still seeking additional directional greeters and workers to sanitize equipment. Anyone interested in working at the polls may call the office at 740-592-3201.
Local forums for the upcoming election races have been announced by the League of Women Voters of Athens County. The first, and so far only, forum is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. for the candidates of the Athens County Probate Juvenile Court judge, Ken Ryan and Zach Saunders. Questions for the forum can be submitted to email@example.com by Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.
The last day to register online to vote for the Nov. 3, 2020 Presidential Election is Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Registrations postmarked by the same date will also be accepted, as well as in-person registration on Monday, Oct. 5. The last day a request for a ballot by mail can be accepted is Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020.
The early voting period runs from Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 to Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, with varying hours during each week. Check the Athens County Board of Elections website, boe.ohio.gov/athens, for more information on the upcoming election.