Populatiry of mail-in ballots continues to rise

Published: Jul. 26, 2018 at 5:41 PM CDT
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A record number of voters are choosing to vote by mail this year.

Elections officials say 2.6 million mail ballots, accounting for about one-fifth of registered Florida voters, will be sent out this week.

The total is up from the 2.3 million that went out for the primary two years ago.

“Both parties have taken their likely voters and they've turned them into absentee or vote by mail voters because you want to make sure that you get those votes in,” said Andrew Wiggins with the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

In at least two counties the number is even higher.

In Pinellas and Manatee, 30 percent of all registered voters have asked to vote by mail.

The high number is due in part to the high voter turnout in 2016.

“People that were engaged in 2016 and went out and requested an absentee ballot, they'll get it again this time if they selected the four-year cycle,” said Wiggins.

Mail-in voting has been fraught with problems in the past.

In the 2016 election, it was commonplace for ballots to be thrown out because of a missing or mismatched signature.

“There were a number of ballots that were being rejected due to the lack of the match,” said Ron Labasky with the Florida State Association of Elections Supervisors. “And believe it or not, people would go to all the trouble to vote their ballot, put it in the secrecy envelope, put a stamp on it, and forget to sign it.”

But the Legislature changed the law after losing a battle in federal court.

“We've corrected that methodology and I think that's gonna increase the number of votes that we actually get to count.,” Labasky.

Now if there is a problem with a mail ballot, supervisors must notify you.

Then you can submit an affidavit to prove that it is indeed your signature.

To count, the affidavit must arrive back at the Supervisor of Elections before 5 p.m. on the day before the election.

You still have a few days left to register to vote in the primary.

July 30th is the cut-off.

You can register online, in person at your local supervisor of elections office, or through the mail.