During the August primary election, a man on a rampage (as described by the police) knocked one of our ballot drop boxes off its base. He drove his SUV into police cars, an emergency gate and, lastly, the ballot drop box in the Lacey City Hall parking lot.
Once he drove on top of the drop box, he couldn't drive back off. High centered on top of the drop box, police were able to quickly arrest him.
You would think our drop box would be useless after abuse like that! But you'd be wrong.
Early in the morning city staff quickly repositioned and reattached the drop box to the ground. When our elections staff inspected the box, they found a scratch and tire tread marks but no real damage.
The strength of that drop box shows how important it is to us that we get your ballot on election day. The 28 drop boxes across Thurston County are the backbone of our ballot return system.
The Lacey City Hall drop box was built by a local company called Vote Armor. Like many of the other manufacturers we've worked with, Vote Armor has modified their designs over time. Their boxes ensure ballots are safe from wayward SUVs, stay dry and are secure.
Even though postage is paid on your ballot, more than half of Thurston County voters continue to use drop boxes. I use the drop box by the Lacey Post Office. It's convenient to my commute and I know that once my ballot is in the box, it will be counted. It also saves your tax dollars.
Drop boxes remain the most reliable way to make sure your ballot makes it to our processing center. The U.S. Post Office is incredibly reliable. But if you're waiting until the last few days before the election to return your ballot, you should know that our mail in Thurston County is first routed up to Seattle for processing before its delivered to us. This can delay your ballot getting a postmark by election day.
So, remember when you're returning your ballot to us, once it's in a drop box, even a rampaging SUV driver won't stop it from getting to us.