More Than 35,000 Ballots Uncounted In Florida

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Landon Mion Contributor
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Florida’s primary election in August rejected more than 35,500 mail-in ballots, due to technical issues or missed deadlines, in an election where 60 percent of votes were cast by way of mail, Politico reported.

University of Florida Political Science Professor Dan Smith revealed that the state rejected 1.5 percent of mail-in ballots, with more than 65 percent of those ballots being rejected because they did not arrive by Florida’s Election Day deadline of 7 p.m, according to Politico.  The remaining rejected ballots did not qualify due to signature match requirements, which are used to verify the identities of voters, not being met.

Of the more than 35,500 votes that did not count, 47 percent of the votes that did not count were done by Democrats, who accounted for 50 percent of mail-in ballots.  Republicans had 31 percent of their ballots rejected while having 34 percent of the mail-in ballots.  The highest rejection rate of mail-in ballots came from those who did not belong to either major party, with 15 percent of ballots of independents and third-party voters not being counted while only having 22 percent of all mail-in ballots.

Election Supervisor Brian Corley of Pasco county said that many voters were at fault for the ballot not being counted in the primary in cases that ballots did not arrive by the deadline.  He said that most of the mail-in ballots in his county that went uncounted were not mailed early enough as they had a postmark of Aug. 18 or later. (RELATED: Mail-In Voting For November Election Over Coronavirus Opens Door For Fraud, Experts Say)

“You can’t put your vote-vote-by-mail return envelope in your mailbox on Election Day and expect it to get to the Supervisor of Elections office by 7 p.m.,” Corley said.

Democrats have challenged the deadline in Florida in the past, according to Politico.  However, the federal judges rejected the idea of changing it.

Smith said that the percentage of rejected ballots in Florida is similar to that of elections in both 2016 and 2018.  However, given the expected rise in mail-in ballots due to COVID-19, this could lend itself to a higher percentage of uncounted votes, should the problem arise again in November’s general election.

Smith said that voters should vote early in person, but with a mask, as things are less likely to go wrong in this scenario.

Election officials said that, if voters want to use mail-in ballots, they should send them in as soon as possible to ensure they are received prior to the deadline, according to the Herald-Tribune.

Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee said she was “very confident in our ability to administer an orderly vote-by-mail process with a high level of integrity,”  Lee told local election supervisors.  “The state has had vote-by-mail available for decades and no-excuse mail voting for nearly 20 years.  This is a method of voting we are very familiar with.”

In a swing state that was decided by fewer than 113,000 votes in the 2016 election, if thousands of votes are not counted in November, mail-in ballot rejections will likely have huge implications on who wins the state of Florida.