TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Thousands of mail-in ballots in Florida are already getting a second look by election canvassing officials after voters improperly marked their ballots, changed their minds or wasted their votes.
Under state law, canvassing boards include the elections supervisor, a county judge and the chair of the county commission. Substitutions are allowed if one of these officers is unavailable or a candidate on the ballot.
Right now, these boards are saving thousands of voters from their own mistakes in every county.
“The last one didn’t go through the machine because they put their ‘I voted’ sticker on the ballot,” said Mary Ann Lindley, who sits on the canvassing board in Leon County.
After observing the Leon County canvassing board in action, here are some key takeaways:
1) Don’t vote for more than one candidate in a race. As Lindley said, one ballot had voted for two candidates in a race while another had voted for three.
2) Avoid red ink when filling out your ballot. Because it might not show up. As one elections supervisor staffer put it: "That’s basically invisible ink.
3) Try to write as clearly as possible. “Just be very solid,” Lindley said. “Those light little ballpoint pen marks are hard to read.”
4) Don’t wait if you plan to vote by mail. As with most things, the sooner you send it, the better off you are. And you can check online to see if your vote has been counted.
What’s clear after watching the Leon County canvassing board is that its members go out of their way to make sure the intent of the voter is understood.