‘Well-secured’ ballot drop-off boxes available for Lakeland special election

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Ballot drop-off boxes are back in Polk County government buildings ahead of April 6th elections in six cities and towns.

The Polk County Supervisor of Elections office delivered a ballot box to Lakeland City Hall Tuesday.

Voters in Lakeland will decide which candidate will fill the seat vacated by Scott Franklin on the Lakeland city commission.

Franklin, a Republican, was elected to represent Florida’s 15th District in the U.S. House in November.

His seat has been temporarily filled by Don Selvage.

Elections will also be held in Bartow, Dundee City, Haines City, Lake Alfred and Lake Wales.

Election officials in Polk County are assuring voters drop-off boxes are safe and secure, despite objections from some Republican politicians.

“Why create problems where we don’t have any?” asked Lori Edwards, the Polk County Supervisor of Elections. “We don’t want these boxes just thrown out willy-nilly and put anybody’s ballot in danger or worry about fraud in any way but that’s not how it’s operating in Florida.”

Still, some Florida Republican lawmakers are pushing through a bill, SB 90, that would prohibit drop-off boxes for mail-in absentee ballots, among other restrictions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has released his own voter reform proposals.

“We need to address these drop boxes. I think they’re a big problem and I think that you can take it, put it in the mail or take it to the elections office,” the governor said. “Why do you need to have these things out there?”

In the November election, nearly 36,000 people in Polk County used drop-off boxes.

“In Florida, these boxes are well-secured. They’re monitored. They’re staffed. They’re well taken care of. There just isn’t a problem,” said Edwards.

Voters can drop off their ballots during normal business hours at Lakeland City Hall or in the elections offices in Winter Haven and Bartow through April 5.

To learn more about how and where you can vote, visit the Polk County Supervisor of Elections website.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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