OPA Opens Drop Box As Ballot Delays Continue

OCEAN PINES – The Ocean Pines Association has established a drop box location to ensure ballots are received ahead of the election deadline.

In response to the recent delay in members receiving election ballots, the association reports the Ocean Pines Elections Committee is taking action to ensure the integrity and efficiency of the voting process.

Committee Chair Tom Piatti said the lateness is not associated with the U.S. Postal Service and that ballots should arrive this week.

“Homeowners should immediately return their ballot by USPS mail, as stated in the enclosed voting instructions,” he said in a news release.

To provide expedited local service, Piatti said the association has set up a secure drop box at the police station, allowing members to drop off their completed ballots.

Those ballots will be shipped to the elections contractor via overnight express mail.

“We recognize the importance of providing our members with a seamless voting experience,” Piatti said. “In light of the ballot delay, we are proactively implementing a drop box solution to allow our members to submit their ballots with ease.”

Earlier this year, the Ocean Pines Board of Directors selected Election Trust, a Washington-based company, as the association’s new elections contractor.

The company’s bid included an agreement to handle all printing, mailing, receipt and counting of votes for the 2023 board election at a cost of $15,944.

“I think this is one of the things we need to do moving forward with the technology we have,” Director Rick Farr, board liaison for the Ocean Pines Elections Committee, said in May. “And I think it’s one of the things that would be best for the association.”

In June, officials announced ballots would be mailed to property owners the week of July 11, with ballots due back to Election Trust by close of business on Aug. 8.

In an effort to help association members meet that deadline, a drop box became operational on Monday, July 24.

Piatti added that the ballot receipt deadline to the Washington state elections contractor is still Tuesday, Aug. 8.

Members seeking further information are asked to contact the elections committee at [email protected].

This year’s ballot count will be held on Aug. 10, with the association’s annual meeting set for Aug. 12.

For more information, visit oceanpines.org and click on the “2023 OPA Board Election” banner at the top of the page.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.