MASON CITY, Iowa - The general election is getting closer, and with the pandemic, some are opting to vote absentee through mail-in ballots, which will begin to be mailed out this coming Monday.
This week, a new ballot drop box was installed on the south side of the Cerro Gordo County Courthouse for those who want to drop off their ballot in a secure way.
"We investigated what different counties both in Iowa and surrounding states have used, and we found that this model that came from Minnesota creates several different safety features to ensure the security of the ballot."
So far, county auditor Adam Wedmore's office is planned to mail out about 7,000 ballots to county residents beginning next week, a record for absentee ballot requests. He's heard from a wide range of voters who are in support of installing the drop box.
"We've had great response from the voters that they plan to use this, they like this option, and it's another opportunity for voters to return their voter ballot to us to ensure their ballots will be counted and recorded on election night."
Wedmore is assuring that your vote will not be compromised, as only auditor staff will be allowed to handle the ballots.
"We have limited personnel inside of our staff that will retrieve these ballots multiple times each day, even on the weekends, so voters can be rest assured that their ballot won't be sitting in there for any extended period of time. It has a double locked system to ensure those ballots remain securely in there."
There are also security measures inside the chute itself so that only ballots can be dropped off, and nothing else. Also, a security camera is nearby to spot anything suspicious.
During this election season, Wedmore says his office will take any sort of ballot tampering or voter fraud seriously.
"I would co-provide several different charges that law enforcement will investigate with assistance of the county attorney, and those are punishable by fines, including up to felony convictions. We take election security and misconduct very, very seriously, and we will investigate all instances of potential voter fraud."