Report suggests voting by mail poses more risks than traditional voting

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - A new report by a University of Florida Political Scientist for the ACLU found that voting by mail is the riskiest way to cast a ballot.

The risk of not having a mail ballot counted is greatest for those under 30, blacks and Hispanics.

Nearly 28,000, or just over one percent of all mail ballots cast in 2016 weren’t counted.

The most likely reason is that voters didn’t sign the ballot or their signature didn’t match the voting record.

“The process on mail-in ballots is to compare the signature on the ballot when it’s returned to determine, and we hope to determine, that it is the correct voter who has cast the ballot," said Ron Labasky with the Florida State Association of Supervisor of Elections.

When ballots are flawed, supervisors are required to contact the voter and give them an opportunity to fix the problem.

“We send a notice, a cure affidavit, to their address where they got their ballot, and if they have an email address or a phone number on file with us, we will call that number several times," said Leon County Elections Supervisor Mark Earley.

The bottom line: voting by mail is inherently more risky than casting a ballot in person.

“Yeah, it's coming through the mail. It’s not as simple as going to your polling place where your ballot is not going to be rejected," said Labasky.

The report found that voters under 30 had just 9.2 percent of all mail ballots, yet 30 percent of those ballots were rejected.

FSU Student Jaimie Mayer thinks the higher failure rate is due to being unfamiliar with the mail voting process.

“We’re so used to doing everything online now that we kinda almost forget to fill out what’s important," said Mayer.

Voters who didn’t cure their mail ballot in time can still show up election day and cast a ballot.

The first mail ballots go out to military and overseas voters this weekend.

In-state mail voters will get their ballots beginning October 3.