A recent study about rejected vote-by-mail ballots in Florida has a lot of voters concerned their ballots may not be counted on Election Day. If you’re concerned about this happening to you, you can take these four steps to ensure your vote-by-mail ballot is counted.
1. Make Sure Your Signature Is Up to Date
Elections officials will compare the signature on the outside of your vote-by-mail ballot with the signature that you used when you registered to vote.
Our signatures have a tendency to evolve over time, so if it’s been a while since you registered to vote, you should make sure to update your signature on file. You can do that by filling out a voter registration form, checking the box that indicates you are updating your record, and then submitting it to the Supervisor of Elections.
Please note that you must do this before the voter registration deadline, which is Oct. 9. Any changes to your voter registration made after that date will not be applicable for the 2018 General Election.
We have more information about voter registration in Florida on our site.
2. Seal and Sign Your Ballot Envelope Properly
The Supervisor of Elections will include specific instructions about sealing and signing your vote-by-mail ballot. Don’t throw these away! Make sure you follow the instructions as closely as possible. You don’t want your ballot to be rejected because you forgot to sign and date the envelope after you sealed it.
3. Check the Status of Your Mail-In Ballot
The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections has an online tool that allows you to easily check the status of your vote-by-mail ballot. All you have to do is enter your last name, your birth date and the number of your address, and the site will show you the status of your ballot.
If you live in a county where the Supervisor of Elections doesn’t provide an online tool like this, you still have the right to check the status of your vote-by-mail ballot. All you have to do is call 3-4 days after you drop it in the mail, and the staff should be able to tell you the status of your ballot.
If you learn that your vote-by-mail ballot was rejected, the Supervisor of Elections is required by law to inform you why.
4. Resolve the Reported Issues With Your Vote-By-Mail Ballot
If you find yourself with a rejected vote-by-mail ballot, Florida law says you have the right to try to fix the situation. Contact your Supervisor of Elections to find out what you need to do to ensure your mail-in ballot is counted.
And if the Supervisor of Elections’ office contacts you about your vote-by-mail ballot, do not delay in getting this resolved. The earlier you can get this resolved, the better.
Vote-by-mail ballots have already been sent to overseas and military voters, and the rest of us should start receiving our mail-in ballots after Oct. 2.
By filling out your vote-by-mail ballot and sending it in, you took the first – and most important! – step in helping to make democracy work. A bit of follow-up on your part will ensure your voice is actually heard on Election Day.