An investigation by the Associated Press uncovered no cases anywhere in the country of fraud or damage connected to ballot drop boxes used during the 2020 elections that could have altered the outcome.
That finding is, of course, in stark contrast to consistent claims made by ex-President Donald Trump and certain allies of his regarding the supposed vulnerability of ballot drop boxes to fraud. In line with fundamentally baseless concerns about fraud tied to such boxes, certain state legislators have imposed new restrictions on their use. Relatedly, the Wisconsin state Supreme Court recently blocked the use of most ballot drop boxes in the state, dealing a considerable set-back to attempts to make voting more accessible for Wisconsin residents — but in Massachusetts, Republicans recently lost in their attempts to block an expansion of the state’s mail-in voting system that would allow all state residents to use mail-in voting without needing to justify their preference to election authorities.
Besides potential fraud, the Associated Press probe also covered possible cases of vandalism or theft connected to ballot drop boxes. In May, the news org sent surveys to the top offices responsible for running elections in each and every state, asking officials about what happened in their respective locales with drop boxes during the 2020 elections. Almost all states — excluding only five — answered the key questions. The Associated Press succinctly summarizes their findings as follows: “None of the election offices in states that allowed the use of drop boxes in 2020 reported any instances in which the boxes were connected to voter fraud or stolen ballots. Likewise, none reported incidents in which the boxes or ballots were damaged to the extent that election results would have been affected.” No election-affecting fraud, theft, or damage — from vandalism or another factor — was found. It wasn’t just that there was a small level of something on that list: there was nothing.
Arizona Assistant Secretary of State Allie Bones, one of the state officials who weighed in after the Associated Press sent out its survey, characterized concerns about ballot drop boxes as essentially made up. “Not to say that there’s anything wrong with USPS, and I think they do a great job as well, but the hysteria around ballot drop boxes I think is just a made-up thing to create doubt and fear,” the official remarked. States like Georgia and Iowa, where the GOP holds substantial power over conducting elections, recently imposed limits on the numbers of ballot drop boxes available per county, but that’s not how the process has to go: 22 states have no limits in place on the number of drop boxes available for use in the midterms. These states — just to reiterate the point — aren’t reporting more election-threatening fraud than the rest. They’re not reporting any!
The Associated Press report on their investigation notes there were a couple incidents involving drop boxes getting set on fire during the 2020 election cycle — one such incident took place in Massachusetts, another in California — but most of the ballots in affected boxes were recovered. Funnily enough, a recent survey from The New York Times found just 3 percent of Republicans identifying election integrity as the main issue facing the U.S. Clearly, the bulk of the GOP isn’t on the same page as Trump.