Deva Marie Proto, Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters, is alerting voters that there have been recent reports in California of groups promoting unofficial ballot drop boxes that are not affiliated with county elections offices. In some instances, these groups are promoting their unauthorized ballot drop boxes as “official” or “secure.” The use of unauthorized, non-official ballot drop boxes is prohibited by state law.
At the same time, Proto seeks to reassure voters that the staffed ballot drop box located outside of the Registrar of Voters Office during business hours is legitimate. “Some voters have expressed concern that the individuals taking ballots outside of our office are scammers,” says Proto. “This is absolutely not the case. They are official elections employees. The reason we are having them collect ballots outside is to minimize the number of people going in and out of our office during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Any voter who wants to return their ballot at a drop box should only use official county drop boxes. Locations of all 20 official drop boxes in Sonoma County can be found at https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/where-to-vote. Official county drop boxes are clearly recognizable, designed to meet state standards for security, and bear the official Sonoma County Registrar of Voters logo. See below for pictures of two such drop boxes in Sonoma County.
According to Proto, “depositing your ballot at an official dropbox is very safe. Not only is each box physically secure, but we have a strict chain of custody procedures in place requiring two ballot retrievers to unlock, count, document and secure the ballots from each dropbox on the team’s route.” Proto added that law enforcement has been informed of the box locations and will be regularly monitoring them for any suspicious activity.
To report any concerns, call (707) 565-6800, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Registrar of Voters Office in person at 435 Fiscal Drive, Santa Rosa, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.