Peoria County voters can drop off vote by mail ballots at new drop box

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — For Peoria County voters, there’s a new way to return a vote by mail ballot this year.

On Wednesday, election commission leaders unveiled a new ballot drop box at the office on Brandywine Drive in Peoria. Leaders said estimates show they’ll send out 35,000 vote-by-mail ballots this election.

Ballots can be returned by mail, in-person, or at the new dropbox.

“They know that they’re delivering it when they put it in the box,” said Executive Director of the Peoria County Election Commission Thomas Bride. “They know we’re the next people to touch it. It’s basically like they’re handing it to us, but they don’t have to have to come into the office and be around people and expose themselves if they’re concerned about that and being around groups.”

Leaders said the dropbox is a more accessible option and can give some voters peace of mind.

“They can do it directly from their car and they don’t have to be around groups of people if they’re not comfortable using the post office, so it allows them to use vote by mail, but if they have concerns about making sure the ballot gets back they can use the drop box,” said Bride.

Bride said in states like Oregon, which exclusively uses vote-by-mail, dropboxes are a popular return option for voters.

“50 to 60 percent of people use their drop boxes and don’t mail their ballots back, and that’s an all vote by mail state, so I knew that we needed to have that option for people,” said Bride.

Bride said starting Thursday, staff will begin to send out the 27,000 vote-by-mail ballots that have been requested so far. Early voting also begins Thursday.

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