If a voter’s absentee ballot is flagged before Election Day because of problems with a signature, voters could have the opportunity to update their signature on file. But generally, voters only have one opportunity to get it right.
In every case, voters are notified in writing that their absentee ballot was rejected.
Miami-Dade rejected a total of 2,427 returned absentee ballots out of 164,867 cast. The majority of them, 1,599, were postmarked after the 7 p.m. close of the polls on Aug. 14. An additional 582 were discarded for lack of a signature, and 307 others were tossed aside because the signatures did not match.
In Orlando’s Orange County, elections officials rejected 553 absentee ballots out of 39,064. Nearly all of the bad ballots fell into two main categories: no signature on the certificate envelope, 300, and signatures that didn’t match, 208.
Like Pinellas, Orange County’s election officials review every questionable absentee and present their findings to the canvassing board, which makes the final decision, said Fred Altensee, a spokesman for the Orange County Elections Office.
Sarasota County rejected 505 absentee ballots out of 17,861 that were returned for the primary. The vast majority arrived too late to be counted.
“Voters should be sure to properly complete their vote-by-mail ballot, sign and date the certificate envelope and include postage,” said Corley, Pasco County’s supervisor of elections. “If your signature has changed, particularly due to medical reasons, it’s imperative that you update your signature.”
Volusia County rejected 356 absentees out of 24,303, and about half of the junked votes had no signatures. St. Johns County rejected 146 out of 4,827, 110 of which were not returned until after Election Day.
“Too late to count,” said St. Johns Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes.
In Seminole County, it’s a similar story: Ertel said the biggest reason that absentee ballots don’t count is the most obvious reason of all: Voters don’t turn them in by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
“Voters should give themselves plenty of leeway when mailing it back,” Ertel said.
Times/Herald staff writer Brittany Alana Davis contributed to this report. Contact Steve Bousquet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-224-7263.