Making your vote count, inside local canvassing board meeting

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 10:45 PM CDT
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In the canvassing board room of the Bay County Supervisor of Elections office democracy was in action Thursday as volunteers continued canvassing vote by mail ballots. An assembly line of volunteers carefully monitored by elections officials were charged with organizing ballots to be counted.

“All your vote by mail ballots- which we’ve got well over 26,000- had to be separated out of their envelopes secretly, you know, separately,” said Bay County Supervisor of Elections, Mark Andersen.

The goal is to make sure every ballot is counted and to catch common mistakes.

“We’ve had people circle the names instead of fill in the ovals. Do not do X’s, do not do checkmarks. It says right on the ballot ‘fill in the oval',” said Andersen, and when you do fill in that oval don’t press down too hard on your pen causing the ink to bleed through the ballot. “You don’t have to perfectly fill in the oval. It needs to be lightly. If you’re too aggressive with it and you push through the ballot and poke a hole through the other side it makes it see it differently,” he said.

Some ballots were missing signatures. Andersen said, “but the great news is we’re going to chase you. We’re going to call you if we’ve got your phone number, we’re going to text you.” Others included something else- “we say breakfast usually gets involved in some of the ballots to be honest with you because there’s coffee or pieces of pancake.”

But Andersen says more than 50% of registered Bay County voters have already made their voices heard and this election year could break records, “74% is the highest that we’ve ever had. I anticipate we may reach a record on this one,” said Andersen.

Andersen also said if you still have not submitted your vote by mail ballot it is too late to put it in the postal system. Instead, drop it off at a super-voting site dropbox or at the supervisor of elections office to make sure your vote gets counted.

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