Drop Box FAQs


During the Special Session in August 2020, the General Assembly passed a law passed a law allowing ballot drop location for the November 3, 2020 Elections. Arlington County installed 9 24-hour drop boxes and has 5 supervised drop locations at each early voting site. In addition, voters can return their ballot to their polling place on Election Day. Voters have the option to return their mail ballot using the method they prefer; mail 24-hour drop box, or supervised drop locations. 

How are ballot drop boxes secured? 

  • The drop boxes are constructed of durable material able to withstand vandalism, removal, and inclement weather, and are securely fastened to the sidewalk to prevent moving or tampering. 
  • The drop boxes are monitored by a video surveillance system. Video surveillance footage is retained for 30 days following the deadline to certify the election. 
  • The drop boxes are well lit and have  clearly identified ballot insertion slot. 
  • The opening slot is not large enough to allow ballots to be tampered with or removed. 
  • All drop boxes are secured by a lock. Only the elections office has keys. 

How often are ballots picked up? 

  • Ballots are collected daily by 2 Election Officers representing the 2 major political parties, from the office of the General Registrar. 
  • The individuals retrieving ballots will wear a badge that readily identifies them as a designated ballot retriever. 
  • When ballots are removed they are placed in a secure container. The container is locked by the officers of election with their signatures, the date, and a record of the the number of ballots that have been secured in the container. The locked container is immediately transported to the general registrar's office. 

How long will it take for my ballot to be processed after being picked up? 

  • Within 3 business days, your ballot should be checked in as received online. 
  • After ballots are picked up, the are inspected for completeness. We are looking to see if the ballot has been sealed in the privacy envelope and that the Statement of Voters has been completed and signed. Only ballots that are complete will be checked in. Voters who did not complete the necessary requirements will be contacted with steps to ensure their ballot is counted. Because ballots are inspected for completeness prior to being checked in, there is a small delay from when your ballot is received to having the received day posted online. If you have a question or concern, you can contact our Office.