ORLANDO, Fla. — With 2020 expected to shatter records for mail-in voting, here’s a look what to know if you’re considering voting by mail:
- Deadline – According to the state of Florida, “the deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot be mailed is no later than 5 p.m. on the 10th day before the election.” This year that would be by 5 PM, October 24, 2020. To request a ballot all you have to do is contact your county’s supervisor of elections office (http://dos.elections.myflorida.com/supervisors/)
- Mail – You can return your vote-by-mail ballot by mailing it back to the office. Some counties include a stamped return envelope, others do not. If you choose to mail it back, supervisors request that you mail the ballot back at least a week before the election; this year that would mean getting the ballot in the mail by Tuesday, October, 27
- Drop Off – If you do not want to mail your vote by mail ballot back, you can simply drop it off at any early voting location inside the county where you live. Each early voting location will have a secure drop box and an election worker to take your sealed ballot and place it into the drop box. You can also hand deliver it to your county’s supervisor of elections office.
- Drop Off Deadline - Vote by mail ballots must be in the possession of the supervisor of elections when the polls close on Election Day. If you still have the ballot in your possession on Tuesday November 3rd you will need to drive it to the supervisor of elections office and hand deliver it there
- Don’t Have to Use It - Many voters will request a vote by mail ballot and decide to use it as a guide or simply decide not to use it at all. Just because you requested a vote by mail ballot does not mean you have to vote by mail. you can still go an vote in person early or in person on Election Day. When you do this, your in person vote will be counted and your vote by mail ballot becomes void.
- Sign - One of the most common mistakes voters make is they forget to sign their vote by mail ballot. Another common problem is when a voter’s signature on the ballot does not match their signature on file. Voters can correct either one of these errors by filling out a cure affidavit. these affidavits can be filled out and returned up to two days after the election (https://dos.myflorida.com/media/700479/dsde139.pdf)
- Track - Once you have dropped off your vote by mail ballot, either in person or in the mailbox, you can track your ballot online or by calling your supervisor of elections office. You will see when it is received and when it is processed this will also let you know that it has been counted and is free of errors.
- Problems - If there is a problem with your ballot or the return envelope simply contact your supervisor of elections office. This year in Volusia County voters complained that the return envelope arrived and was already sealed. To remedy this the supervisor informed voters that, “A few voters have had issues with the strips that need to be moistened and have asked if taping the envelope close with invalidate their ballot. Supervisor of Elections, Lisa Lewis, would like to inform voters that placing tape on the envelope will in no way invalidate the voter’s ballot. Just as with any other mailing, tape can be used to securely close an envelope.”
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