UPDATE: On Tuesday, March 21, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) signed Senate Bill 258 into law.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Feb. 20, the Arkansas Senate passed Senate Bill 258, a bill that would ban drop boxes in the state. S.B. 258 passed the Arkansas Senate 28 to 6 on a party line vote, with all Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats voting against. The bill is likely to advance through the Republican supermajority in the House, before heading to Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R).
S.B. 258 reads: “A county clerk, public employee, or election official shall not establish or use a drop box for the purpose of collecting absentee ballots” and “No person shall deliver an absentee ballot through a drop box.” Sen. Clarke Tucker (D), a member of the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs committee who voted against the proposal, described his confusion: “Where you drop mail at the post office, that’s not manned. You can stuff as many items into a drop box at a post office as you want, they can be mailed to the circuit clerk,” Tucker said. “So how does the risk for fraud exist in a drop box that does not exist with sending items through the mail?”
During the 2023 legislative session, similar drop box bans have been passed by the South Dakota House of Representatives and Virginia House of Delegates. South Dakota’s Republican trifecta government will likely advance its bill, but the Virginia ban will likely fail in the Democratic-controlled state Senate. Parallel proposals have been introduced in Arizona and Kansas. In early January, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed a law limiting drop boxes to one per county, representative of the growing trend of GOP states severely restricting mail-in voting and drop box use since the 2020 election.