County launches voting drop boxes

News

Voting box at Brookens Administration Building in Urbana.

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — It’s voting that’s not exactly by mail, and not exactly in-person, either.

Champaign County debuted seven new voting drop boxes this month.

They’re available for people to drop-off ballots if they’ve requested them by mail. All of the locations are on public property.

Those sites include:

  • Brookens Administration Building, 1776 E Washington St, Urbana, in the circle drive 
  • Champaign Public Library, 200 W Green, Champaign, north of the mailbox on State Street 
  • Champaign Public Library-Douglass Branch, 504 E Grove, Champaign, in the circle drive 
  • Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, 201 W Kenyon Rd, Champaign, in the east parking lot 
  • Sholem Pool, 2205 Sangamon Dr, Champaign, at the top of the circle drive 
  • Urbana Public Library, 210 W Green, Urbana, in the parking lot 
  • University of Illinois Quad, 1401 W Green St, northwest corner, accessible by foot or bike only 

The contents of the boxes will be picked up by election judges, not the post office. They’ll deliver the ballots directly to the County Clerk’s office.

County Clerk Aaron Ammons, in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday, touted the boxes’ safety and accessibility. Stand-alone boxes weigh more than 300 pounds and, except for the drop slot, are locked. The boxes are part of a pilot program launched across the state, and are only valid for this election, as a result. If the legislature chooses to make the boxes a “staple” of the state’s election process, boxes would be added to towns outside of Champaign-Urbana, according to a release from the office.

“The goal is for these to be permanent — we really want them to be in place for years to come now,” he said. “Long after I’m gone, the people of Champaign County should be able to have accessible means to drop their ballots off right here.”

Ammons directed federal COVID-19 funding to pay for the boxes, so the county didn’t incur any costs in obtaining them.

To have your vote via drop box counted, ballots must be inside the box by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3, at the latest.

The county will also be holding some drive-and-drop voting events outside of the Champaign-Urbana area as well. Two election judges — one from each party — will be holding a portable version of the new ballot boxes for people to drive up to and put in their ballots. As with the stand-alone boxes, the election judges will deliver the contents directly to the County Clerk’s office.

Drive-and-drop sites include:

  • Lake of the Woods, Elk’s Pavilion, 301 Senna Drive, Mahomet, IL 61853 
  • The Rantoul Township Building, 121 N. Garrard, Rantoul, IL 61866 
  • Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 802 East Douglas Street, St. Joseph, IL 61873 
  • Tolono Public Library, 111 East Main Street, Tolono, IL 61880 

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