Haverhill Installs Two Boxes for Residents to Drop Off Ballots to Vote in Sept. 1 Primary Election

Installing a ballot drop-off box behind City are Nick Hendricks, partially visible, and Simeon Ouellette and Kostas Fella. (WHAV News photograph.)

With some voters worried their mail-in ballots won’t arrive in time for the Sept. 1 primary election, Haverhill has created two stations for residents to drop them off.

City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas said ballots may be dropped off 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week at special, secure boxes at the Haverhill Police Station and behind City Hall. The box at City Hall, located near the stairs to the rear parking lot, is designed for drive-up service.

“We’re going to pick up and clean them out several times a day,” Koutoulas said. The box outside City Hall was installed yesterday morning by Department of Public Works employees. It is set in concrete and locked.

“People are using it already,” she said. The other drop-off location is in the outer lobby of the Haverhill Police Station, 40 Bailey Boulevard.

The city clerk said her office has already mailed out ballots to those who returned applications to vote by mail. Others intending to cast a ballot during the primary election must return their vote-by-mail applications no later than Aug. 26. Those who do not have an application may download one at the secretary of state’s website.

Postal officials set off an uproar in late July when they warned states that deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots are incompatible with the Postal Services’ delivery standard. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, however, issued a statement yesterday saying tht he would suspend operational initiatives “that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic” until after the election, to avoid the appearance of effects on electoral mail.

DeJoy also announced the expansion of a leadership task force on election mail. He said retail post office hours will not change, mail processing equipment and collection boxes “will remain where they are,” no mail processing facilities will be closed, and overtime will be approved as needed.

Koutoulas said she is not aware of any postal delays in Haverhill. “Everything seems to be moving quickly,” she said.

State House News Service contributed to this report.

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