74ºF

Postal controversy continues to fuel Florida mail ballot concerns

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Just over two million Floridians have already cast their ballots through the mail for Tuesday’s primary election, but as reports of the United States Postal Service expecting shipping delays continue to mount, voting rights activists and election supervisors are growing increasingly concerned for the November election.

Election supervisors are continuing to collect mail ballots in drop boxes.

Since Friday, almost 200,000 mail ballots were received, but more than 2.1 million are still outstanding.

That’s why reports of budget cuts and delays at the post office have Supervisors of Elections like Mark Earley concerned.

“When I did hear about sorters being taken out, I don’t know if that was accurate or not, but that raised concerns. You know that’s an obvious target for Russians or the Chinese or any of our national adversaries that might want to undermine our elections,” said Earley, who serves as Vice President of the Florida supervisors of Elections.

In Washington D.C., the House Speaker called representatives back early from their August recess to address post office funding.

Their hope is to provide USPS with $25 billion in additional funding.

Patricia Brigham, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida, said that funding is critical because even a day or two of postal delays could have significant repercussions.

“You could see hundreds of thousands of ballots not counted as a result,” said Brigham.

In late July, the Post Master General sent a letter to Florida Supervisors of Elections and the Secretary of State, warning voters who request mail ballots late face a significant risk of their vote arriving too late to be counted if they return it through the mail.

As a result of that warning, the League has asked the Governor to consider allowing mail ballots received up to 10 days after election day to be counted in the general election.

“Floridians that get their ballots in, they mail those ballots way ahead of time, for them to be disenfranchised that way, that is an attack on our democracy and should not be tolerated,” said Brigham.

However, Earley doesn’t think such a move is necessary.

He and other election officials say mailing your ballot at least two to three weeks before election day will ensure it’s counted.

You can also return your ballot in-person to your supervisor’s office before 7 p.m. on election day.