Normally, as Election Day approaches most of us wouldn't be thinking much about the actual process of voting. You show up at your local polling place on the first Tuesday of November, you sign in, press a few buttons on the voting machine, and that's that.

But, of course it's not going to be like that in 2020 for a lot of people.

I received my official New Jersey mail-in ballot about two weeks ago, opened the packet, checked out the ballot, then kind of wondered what I should do next this far ahead of time.

I didn't really want to drop it in the mail a month in advance, but I also didn't want it to get buried in a pile of mail at my house over the intervening few weeks, so I figured that stopping by one of Ocean County's many secure ballot drop boxes would be the way to go.

But, then I wondered, how long would my ballot be sitting in the drop box, exactly?

It wasn't a huge concern, but then I saw this story out of California where a secure drop box was set on fire with about 100 ballots inside.

I didn't think that anything like that would happen here in Ocean County, but it did make me wonder exactly how long my ballot would be sitting in the big steel box.

Thankfully, it just took a quick Google search to find the answer.

NJ.com reports that ballot boxes across the state are emptied at least once a day, and in some areas with a lot of drop box usage, sometimes twice a day.

The story goes on to say that at least two Board of Elections employees, many times of different political affiliations, collect the ballots and deliver them securely back to their county offices on a daily basis.

In some counties, law enforcement officers also accompany the Board of Elections employees.

The quick search made me feel better knowing that my ballot wouldn't be sitting in the drop box for weeks.

If you're planning to drop your ballot in one of the many secure ballot drop boxes throughout New Jersey, you can get the full list of secure ballot drop box locations by clicking here for the State of New Jersey's Voter Information Portal.

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