About absentee ballots in South Florida. Did your vote count?

About absentee ballots in South Florida. Did your vote count? 

Excerpt: Voters and poll workers from both parties in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties have contacted the Miami Herald since Election Day detailing dozens of issues with absentee ballots, ranging from ballots not arriving, arriving late, being returned but apparently getting lost in the mail, or showing on the county websites as not tabulated well after Election Day passed. 

There is little data available to quantify the extent of these problems, or say with certainty that the problems were any more significant this election than in past years. But with recounts underway for three key races, triggered by razor thin margins, many who were unable to cast ballots due to problems with the absentee process worry that their vote could have been the one to tip the scale in these tight races. 

State elections department data from the 2018 and 2014 midterms show a significant increase in the number of vote-by-mail ballots sent out from Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. In all three, more Democrats requested mail ballots than Republicans by a margin of almost 2 to 1, but Republicans returned a higher percentage of ballots. 

In Broward, the rate of return of mail ballots was higher in 2018 than in the previous midterm. In Miami-Dade, the rate was about the same. And in Palm Beach, there was a 6 percent lower rate of return this midterm than last. 

Bottom Line: On September 20th I covered the Miami Herald story If you vote by mail in Florida, it’s 10 times more likely that ballot won’t count. As I pointed out there’s an important point to be made that didn’t have anything to do with conspiracy or inconsistencies across the state. We’re all human and prone to making mistakes. Additionally, our signature and hand writing has the potential to change over time. If we vote in person there’s someone to guide us and to help us if we do make a mistake or if there are issues. If we mail a ballot in there isn’t. If a ballot isn’t properly prepared it shouldn’t be accepted. For these reasons, it’s best to vote in-person if at all possible, using ballots by mail only out of necessity. That should be a major takeaway from this cycle.  

 

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