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March 30, 2023
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Florida’s primary election rejected more than 35,500 mail-in ballots as of Friday, due to “technical issues or missed deadlines,” Politico reported.
The rejections accounted for about 1.5 percent of the state’s total voting electorate. Of the more than 35,500 votes were rejected, 47 percent of the votes were submitted by Democrats, who accounted for 50 percent of mail-in ballots (Knowledia). Republicans had 31 percent of their ballots rejected while having 34 percent of the total mail-in ballots (Knowledia). The highest rejection rate of mail-in ballots came from those who did not belong to either major party, with 15 percent of ballots of independents and third-party voters not being counted while only having 22 percent of all mail-in ballots (Knowledia).
Election Supervisor Brian Corley of Pasco county said that many voters were at fault for the ballot not being counted in the primary, with 65% of the rejected ballots being cases in which the ballots did not arrive by the deadline. He said that most of the mail-in ballots in his county that went uncounted were not mailed early enough, indicated by a postmark of Aug. 18 or later. “You can’t put your vote-vote-by-mail return envelope in your mailbox on Election Day and expect it to get to the Supervisor of Elections office by 7 p.m.,” Corley said. Smith said, however, that the percentage of rejected ballots in Florida is similar to that of elections in both 2016 and 2018. Smith also suggested that he would vote early in person, wearing a mask, as things are “less likely to go wrong in this scenario,” (The Herald).
This comes as the state prepares for what could be a record voter turnout in the November presidential election. “This could be a huge problem in November,” University of Florida Political Science Professor Dan Smith said. “We could exceed 100,000 vote-by-mail ballots that don’t count.“
Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, speaking to local election supervisors, said she was “very confident in [the state’s] ability to administer an orderly vote-by-mail process with a high level of integrity.” She continued, “The state has had vote-by-mail available for decades and no-excuse mail voting for nearly 20 years. This is a method of voting we are very familiar with.”
WRITER: CARSON CHOATE
EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE, DOMESTIC AFFAIRS