New Democracy Maps

Drop Boxes

In addition to returning absentee or mail ballots through the postal service, many states offer voters the option of returning their ballot to a secure drop box provided by election authorities. States take a variety of policy approaches to ballot drop boxes, with some states requiring they be accessible statewide, while other states limit, restrict, or even ban the option.  

The resources on this page discuss best practices for drop box policies, as well as track the development of backlash towards drop boxes as a result of misinformation that has proliferated since the 2020 election. 

Related Resources


Democracy Map: Ballot Drop Box Policies and Availability

This map details the variety of state policy approaches to ballot drop boxes, where some require they be accessible statewide, while other states limit, restrict, or even ban the option.


Democracy Wrapped: Five Key Takeaways from Voting and Election Policy in 2023

December 2023 - This play-by-play of 2023’s major democracy trends details five key policy areas. We also look to the year ahead and forecast new developments that will further shape our democracy in 2024 — for better or worse.


State of Democracy: 2023 Mid-Year Legislative Wrap Up

July 2023 - This brief takes a look back at which states saw the most change in early 2023 in our Democracy Tally, both positive and negative, as well as examining policy trends in voting and elections.


Changes to Mail Voting Rules Could Impact Midterm Election Results in Multiple States

November 2022 - Voters in many states are casting their mail ballots under a different set of rules than in 2020. In battleground states like Florida, Georgia, and Nevada, these changes to mail voting policies have the potential to swing election results.


Litigating the Right to Vote: Seven Important Court Cases to Watch in 2022

June 2022 - These seven court cases could have a profound impact in shaping voting and elections in America.


The 10 policy trends transforming voting & Elections in america

April 2022 - This report examines a number of legislative proposals across the United States that seek to make policy changes in three main areas: registration & eligibility, casting a vote, and vote counting & certification.

Blog Post

The Battle Over Ballot Drop Boxes

February 2022 - Amid the contentious rhetoric surrounding the 2020 election, this blog post describes how some federal and state elected officials sought to misrepresent drop boxes as contributing to voter fraud.

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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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