Bay County Supervisor of Elections Office removes outdoor drop box

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — If you’ve ever used the drive-up drop box at the Bay County Supervisor of Elections Office to cast your vote in an election, you may not be able to do that anymore.

Rules surrounding the outdoor drop box at the elections office have changed ahead of a new law expected to be put in place by Governor DeSantis.

Bay County’s Supervisor of Elections, Mark Andersen, removed the dropbox in anticipation of Governor DeSantis signing the voting reform bill and to avoid a hefty fine.

“We are not going to have one out there permanently and confuse voters with the new laws that are coming in place,” Andersen said.

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Andersen said he doesn’t want to be caught in a grey area when it comes to securing drop boxes.

“I’m removing the box until we have real hardcore clarity on what’s going to take place,” Andersen said.

SB 90, the voting reform bill, requires to watch a person to watch a dropbox at all times. If it’s left unattended, the elections office could be hit with a $25,000 fine.

“I’ll still have a dropbox inside of the building but it’ll be with a staff member that’s there at all times,” Andersen said.

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Even though the old dropbox was bolted into the ground, it still didn’t meet the safety requirements outlined in SB 90.

“It doesn’t — that won’t fit the method that this bill is going,” Andersen said.

As for early voting in the Lynn Haven run-off election next week, residents can drop off their vote-by-mail ballot at the Supervisor of Elections Office on 11th Street Monday-Friday or on Election Day. You will have to go inside to turn it in.

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