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Common Cause: More than 15,000 Florida Vote-by-Mail Ballots at Risk of Rejection

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The number of flagged ballots is 0.7% of the total ballots cast by mail so far.

Florida - Friday November 4, 2022: As of Thursday, November 3, there have been 15,714 ballots flagged for what are largely missing or mismatched signatures on return envelopes, according to Florida elections data analyzed by Dan A. Smith, chair of the University of Florida’s political science department and a member of Common Cause Florida’s advisory board.

Those votes are at risk of being rejected if voters don’t resolve the issue by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10. Common Cause advises people who voted by mail in Florida to track their ballot online to ensure it was accepted without issue. Voters can track their mail ballot themselves by calling their county Supervisor of Elections office or using the online trackers available in most counties.

The number of flagged ballots is 0.7% of the total ballots cast by mail so far.

“We need every Floridian to have their voices heard in this election, which is why those who voted-by-mail should check with their county Supervisor of Elections office to ensure their ballot was received without issue,” said Amy Keith, Common Cause Florida’s program director.

Voters who have not yet returned their vote-by-mail ballot must do so by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8, or they can vote in person at an early voting location in their county or at their assigned precinct on Election Day.

Common Cause is a watchdog group based in Washington, D.C., with chapters in 35 states, including Florida. It was founded in 1970 by John W. Gardner, a Republican.

Of the 15,714 flagged ballots:

  •  9,090 had return envelopes flagged for mismatched signatures
  • 5,167 are missing signatures on the envelope
  • 1,457 had other “voter caused errors” 

Voters under 30 were more likely to have issues flagged with their vote-by-mail ballots, with just under 3% of ballots cast by 18-24 year-olds flagged for issues and 2.3% of ballots cast by 24 to 29 year-olds, according to Smith’s analysis. For voters over age 65, the rate fell to 0.5%.
“Younger voters have higher rates of problems with their vote-by-mail ballots this year because they didn’t sign return envelopes or those signatures didn’t match what was on file with election officials,” Smith said. “We know in previous elections that while younger voters are more likely to be disenfranchised when it comes to voting by mail, they also are ready and able to make sure their votes are counted by curing their ballots.”

To cure a signature issue on their vote-by-mail ballot, voters need to:

  • Fill out this form.
  • Provide a copy (or photo) of the required forms of identification.
  • Submit the signed form and copy of identification by email, fax, or delivery to their county supervisor of elections office by 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10. 
  • A person other than the voter can drop off of the signed form and copy of identification as well. 

Voters should be contacted by elections officials if there is a problem with their vote-by-mail ballot. Common Cause Florida strongly advises voters to track their mail ballot themselves by calling their county Supervisor of Elections office or using the online trackers available for most counties.

Florida made significant changes to its vote-by-mail process in 2021’s Senate Bill 90, the anti-voter act being challenged in the courts by Common Cause Florida and other voting rights groups. SB 90, among other things, gave people appointed by political parties or candidates the ability to flag ballots for signature review, even if the ballot was not otherwise flagged by professional elections staff.

Anyone with questions can also call or text the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE, or 866-687-8683, with questions about the process or to report issues.