City installs drop boxes for absentee ballots

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The drop boxes are at seven locations, including outside four Grand Rapids Public Library branches. Courtesy city of Grand Rapids

The city of Grand Rapids added drop boxes for absentee ballots across the city to make it easier for residents to vote in the Nov. 3 election.

The drop boxes are at seven locations, including outside four Grand Rapids Public Library branches.

The 24/7 drive-up drop boxes are at:

  • Ottawa Hills branch, 1150 Giddings Ave. SE – curbside on Giddings
  • Seymour branch, 2350 Eastern Ave. SE – rear of building near the book drop
  • Van Belkum branch, 1563 Plainfield Ave. NE – curbside on Plainfield
  • West Leonard branch, 1017 Leonard St. NW – east parking lot
  • Parking lot at 427 Market Ave. SW – southwest corner of Market and Wealthy
  • 300 Ottawa Ave. NW – across from Calder Plaza

A drop box also is located in the Monroe-level lobby of city hall, 300 Monroe Ave. NW. City hall is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Parking is available in the government center ramp off Monroe and Ottawa.

Voters also may place other election documents in the drop boxes, including voter registration forms and absent voter applications. All drop boxes will be monitored for security and city clerk staff will collect ballots from them multiple times a day.

The customized drop boxes have instructions in English and Spanish, a narrow slot for security and a code for an “I voted” sticker, among other features.

“This is a safe and secure way for voters to cast their absentee ballot,” city clerk Joel Hondorp said. “The drop boxes offer another option for voters who want to maintain physical distancing during COVID-19.”

The city clerk’s office will begin to mail absentee ballots to Grand Rapids voters who have applied for one starting this week. Residents can request an absentee ballot application online.

Voters also may track the progress of their application and absentee ballot online, where they can check their voter registration status, find their polling location or view a sample ballot.

Grand Rapids voters also may return their absentee ballot by mail to the city clerk’s office or in person to:

  • City clerk’s office at city hall, 300 Monroe Ave. NW, second floor – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Validated parking is available in government center ramp off Monroe and Ottawa.
  • Election Central, 201 Market Ave. SW – noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday starting Sept. 28. Free parking is available on-site.

Hondorp encourages voters who plan to mail their absentee ballot to do so as soon as possible. That’s because an increased number of voters are expected to cast an absentee ballot in November due to COVID-19 and no-reason absentee voting.

Hondorp also reminds voters to sign the envelope before they return their absentee ballot via drop box, by mail or in person.

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