Lee County to keep drop boxes in place

BY PCC STAFF

LEE COUNTY – Despite state officials saying drop boxes were not going to be allowed for returning voted ballots, Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise said this week that the Auditor’s Office will continue providing drop boxes at both locations for voter’s convenience.

Fraise said at a training session last week provided by the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office, auditors were informed that drop boxes were not allowed for returning voted ballots.

“Everyone on the training was surprised by this since we used them during the Primary Election,” Fraise said.

“I at once reached out to County Attorney Ross Braden for his interpretation of the Iowa Code section that pertains to returning voted ballots.”

Braden issued the following statement in response to Fraise’s request.

“I have reviewed the information provided to me and the limited available literature on the subject. I have reached out to the (Attorney General’s) office and spoke with Mike Bennett regarding the specific question of whether Ballot Drop Boxes can be considered an extension of the Auditor’s office per the requirements of Iowa Code Section 53.17. The guidance offered is that an appropriate legal interpretation is that a drop box that is located at the same building as the Auditor’s office (and not some remote location) would meet the legal standards required by Section 53.17 of the Iowa Code. It is also advisable to keep those drop boxes as secure as possible to include video surveillance and frequent emptying.”

Fraise said the boxes help voters stay safe while exercising their right to vote.

“I am responsible to the voters of Lee County. These drop boxes were purchased with taxpayer money for convenience to voters and to have another way for voters to stay safe while exercising their right to vote.”

Drop boxes are available at two locations in Lee County. In Fort Madison, it is located behind the County Administrative Building in the alley. In Keokuk, there is a drop box located on Blondeau Street next to the Courthouse.

Questions can be answered by calling 319-372-3705 or email dfraise@leecounty.org

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