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Tampa Bay election workers hope survey on drop box balloting bolsters voter confidence

The survey found no cases of widespread fraud, ballot box damage or vandalism that could have affected the results of the 2020 election.

TAMPA, Fla. — Several states around the nation including, Florida, have passed voting reform laws over the past two years. In doing so, many legislatures cited the 2020 election.

Now, The Associated Press has just wrapped up an extensive study when it comes to the ballot drop boxes critics pointed to as a source of voter irregularities and fraud and found virtually none of it.

Despite repeated claims to the contrary, drop boxes used for mail-in ballots during the 2020 election were not the source of any widespread problem, according to a brand-new survey from the AP.

It found no cases of widespread fraud, ballot box damage or vandalism that could have affected the results.

“We’ve been telling people all along that this is a really safe way for you to cast your ballot,” Pinellas Deputy Supervisor of Elections Dustin Chase said. “And in a way, this report confirms things that we have known I’ve been telling people all along.”

The AP says its survey followed claims made by former President Donald Trump and those who have falsely claimed the drop boxes were a target for fraud, casting doubt on the 2020 election outcome and undermining voter confidence.

   

The distrust is something election supervisors nationwide, including those in Tampa Bay, have been working to address.

“It just substantiates what we in the election business know,” Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said. “We’re always going to say that there’s not zero fraud, there’s always a little bit of fraud out there, but there’s nothing that’s big enough or organized to overturn or change election.”

The May 2022 survey reached out to the top election offices in each state. Five states declined to participate in the survey, including Florida.

At the time of the 2020 election, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida, “Had the most transparent and efficient election anywhere in the country.”

Still, that didn’t stop Florida lawmakers and legislatures in other states from citing claims of voting irregularities and using them to pass election laws critics call restrictive. Several are still being legally challenged, including the Florida law.

“It tries to make for everyday voting to happen on election day only,” said 10Tampa Bay Political Expert Lars Hafner, “Where Republicans tend to do better. So, there’s a motive behind this.”

Elections supervisors have been working hard to retain public confidence in the electoral process. They hope this latest survey will help, especially with primaries and the midterm election coming up in the next few months.

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