by Kimberly Rivers

kimberly@vcreporter.com

In a statement released at 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 11, the Ventura County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters stated they have received reports of groups in the county promoting unofficial ballot drop boxes. 

“My office works hard to conduct fair and impartial elections and to provide safe and secure options for voters to return their ballot, to say I’m disappointed that people would make a concerted effort to deceive voters would be an understatement,” said Mark Lunn, Ventura County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters. 

The two unofficial ballot boxes were in Simi Valley at the Republican Values Center and Saint Rose Church. “The church was aware of the issues the box created and said it will no longer be placed there. A rep at the Republican Center said there was a box in the back and Elections staff told them not to use it,” said Miranda Nobriga, Public Information Officer with the Ventu-
ra County Registrar of Voters.

According to the statement, the placement, use and promotion of “unauthorized, non-official ballot drop boxes is prohibited by state law.”

The public should understand that only the locked white drop boxes at the stated locations with the official logo and signs of the Ventura County Elections Division are official and secure. 

“Elections are all about trust and unofficial drop boxes are not safe. There is no way for the voter to know if their ballot reaches our office as cast and this certainly undermines public trust,” said Lunn. “My message to those that are putting out these boxes is ‘cease and desist this activity, you’re not being helpful and you’re undermining the process.’ ”

There are two versions of the correct and official ballot drop boxes. One design is for outdoor locations and the other, also white, is narrower and designed for indoor locations. See photos. 

Ballot drop boxes are one of three options for returning completed ballots, with signed envelopes. Ballots may also be returned by USPS mail, and can be taken to one of the designated official in-person voting locations. 

Tips for voters from County Registrar of Voters

  • RETURN YOUR SIGNED BALLOT: Vote By Mail Ballots can be returned using the prepaid postage return envelope or by bringing it to any official drop box, voting location, or the Ventura County Elections Division. Make sure to sign the envelope. 
  • HELP RETURNING YOUR BALLOT: If you choose someone to return your ballot, only choose someone you trust. You and the other person must sign the back of the return envelope. Never give your ballot to someone else unless you have completed, signed and sealed the return envelope. 
  • SIGN UP FOR BALLOT TRACKING: You can sign-up at wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov to get automatic notifications by text message, email, or voice message about the status of your Vote By Mail ballot. You’ll be notified once your county has received your ballot, once it has been counted, and if there are any issues with the ballot. 
  • TRUSTED INFORMATION: Get information on voting from trusted, official sources—the Ventura County Elections Division and the Secretary of State. Resources for Ventura County voters are available at: VenturaVote.org. The Secretary of State has resources for California voters at vote.ca.gov

Locations of official Ventura County Elections ballot drop boxes can be found at VenturaVote.org or by calling 805-654-2664. 

Unofficial drop boxes should be reported to Ventura County Elections immediately at 805-654-2664 or after business hours elections@ventura.org.