St. PETERSBURG — With a major storm bearing down on Florida, the more than 16,000 Floridians who voted by mail but had their ballots flagged for signature or other issues need to take steps now to ensure their votes are counted.
Those votes, which make up about 0.6% of all vote-by-mail ballots cast, are at risk of being rejected if voters don’t resolve the issue by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10. This is also the deadline for voters who voted provisional ballots to submit any documentation to make sure their ballot counts.
Complicating things further for these voters is the imminent arrival of Tropical Storm Nicole, which is expected to strengthen to a hurricane when it makes landfall tonight on Florida’s southeastern coast.
Common Cause Florida joined 19 other members of the Florida Election Protection Coalitions in sending an urgent letter Tuesday night to Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Sec. of State Cory Byrd asking for an extension until at least Monday, Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. for the cure deadline given the seriousness of this tropical storm, and the inability some voters may have to cure their ballots given the storm’s timing. Heavy rain and high winds were already hitting parts of southern Florida this morning.
No response to the letter has been received, as of Wednesday morning.
“Every vote matters and every voter’s voice deserves to be heard and counted in this and every election,” said Amy Keith, Common Cause Florida’s program director. “That’s why I’m urging Florida voters who voted by mail to check with their supervisor of elections office now to make sure their ballot was received without problems, and take steps to fix any signature issues.”
Voters can track their mail ballot themselves by calling their county Supervisor of Elections office or using the online trackers available in most counties.
More than 16,000 Vote-by-Mail Ballots Rejected
As of Wednesday morning, Florida election officials had flagged 16,026 ballots, or 0.6% of the total ballot cast by mail, according to Florida elections data analyzed by Dan A. Smith, chair of the University of Florida’s political science department and a member of Common Cause Florida’s advisory board.
Signature issues – either missing signatures on the return envelop or ones that do not match the signature that election official have on file for the voter – made up the bulk of the issues.
Younger voters were more likely to have issues flagged with their vote-by-mail ballots, with more than 3% of VBM ballots cast by 18-24 year-olds flagged for issues.
Steps to Cure a Ballot
The 16,000-plus voters with flagged vote-by-mail ballots now have an opportunity to cure, or fix, those ballots, but must do so before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10. Without curing, the vote may not be counted.
To cure a signature issue on their vote-by-mail ballot, voters need to:
- Fill out this form.
- Provide a copy (or photo) of the required forms of identification.
- Submit the signed form and copy of identification to their county supervisor of elections office by 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10.
- In most cases, the voter can submit the necessary paperwork by email.
Voters should be contacted by elections officials if there is a problem with their vote-by-mail ballot. However, in the interest of time, Common Cause Florida strongly advises voters to track their mail ballot themselves by calling their county Supervisor of Elections office or using the online trackers available in most counties.
Anyone with questions can also call or text the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE, or 866-687-8683, with questions about the process or to report issues.