As early voting begins, election workers examining ballots that may not count because of mistakes

As vote-by-mail ballots come in for Jacksonville’s city elections some may not count, because of mistakes.

Election workers are now looking at the ballots in the election center on the Northside checking for ballots with problems.

Election workers were looking at vote-by-mail ballots on Tuesday and there’s been about 20,000 submitted so far. They’re being counted by a machine, but votes won’t be known until election day next month. This is when election workers are finding out if there are problems, like voting twice for one race or signatures that don’t match.

One woman told News4JAX she doesn’t trust voting by mail.

“It’s just simply because of all the specifications that you have to follow. Blue pen versus black, then does your signature match, is the bubble filled in correctly? I know when I put my ballot through the feeder here that it’s been counted,” she said.

Those specifications she talked about are what one voting machine checks. It kicks out problem ballots.

“There’s something that we call an overvote. That’s if a voter makes a mistake on a ballot, let’s say they choose one candidate and then change their mind they’ll write an X or, maybe a ballot gets damaged in the mail or maybe it gets torn or even somebody spills coffee on it. All those things are very common. So the canvassing board is here to make sure that every ballot is duplicated exactly as the voter originally intended it to be,” said Chief Elections Officer Robert Phillips.

Another problem is with the signatures of voters who sent in mail ballots.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 71 people were being notified there is a problem. Officials said 29 of them forgot to sign the ballot, 14 signatures just didn’t match and 28 were signed by someone else. More than likely a spouse mixed up the envelopes. Those voters will have a chance to correct that so their votes will count.

At the end of the second day of early voting, more than 27,400 people voted by mail or in person. That is just over 4% of all Duval County voters.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.