Testimony from:
Matthew Germer, Elections Fellow, R Street Institute

In OPPOSITION to HB 2238, “AN ACT related to early voting.”

January 26, 2022

House Committee on Government & Elections

Chair Kavanagh, Vice Chair Hoffman and Members of the Committee:

Thank you for considering my testimony. My name is Matthew Germer, and I conduct research on election reform for the R Street Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization. Our mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets and limited, effective government across a variety of policy areas, including election reform. This is why House Bill 2238 is of special interest to us.

R Street ardently believes state legislatures should be focused on improving the voting experience for all eligible voters while ensuring trustworthy elections. Ballot drop boxes are a key component to a convenient and secure voting system. Unfortunately, House Bill 2238 would enact an ambiguous prohibition against “unmonitored” drop boxes that would reduce options for voters. As a result, the bill should be set aside or amended to allow counties to offer drop boxes appropriate for their own jurisdictions.

Ballot drop boxes are a safe and secure option for ballot delivery. While the U.S. Postal Service has proven itself to be a trustworthy partner for mail-in ballots, drop boxes offer an even more secure option for voters by shortening the chain of custody, ensuring ballots are received on time and improving the accuracy of online ballot tracking. All of these factors not only add convenience, but they also increase voter confidence and improve public trust in elections. As a result, election administrators and secretaries of state from across the political spectrum have endorsed drop boxes as one of the premier methods of secure ballot collection. [1]

Ballot drop boxes are a vital component of a convenient and secure voting system, and this committee should look for ways to promote their installation and use across the state. Nevertheless, House Bill 2238 pushes against drop boxes through an ambiguous prohibition. Rather than move this bill forward as is, members of the committee should work alongside local election administrators and amend this bill to promote the use of additional drop boxes. If such an amendment is not possible, the bill should be set aside to allow local election offices to continue to offer drop boxes that best serve their communities’ needs.

Thank you for your time,

Matthew Germer
Elections Fellow
R Street Institute
(714) 609-6288
[email protected]

[1] See, e.g., Kim Wyman, “I’m the Republican secretary of state in Washington — and I believe voting by mail works,” Market Watch, Sept. 30, 2020.


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