ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Nearly 20,000 voters who requested mail-in ballots have not submitted them in St. Johns County. But don’t make the mistake of trying to turn one in at your precinct on Tuesday since they are not accepted at individual precincts.
Now that early voting has ended, you can only turn in your mail-in ballot at the Supervisor of Elections office. St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes said you can turn in your mail-in ballot Monday or Tuesday by 7 p.m., or else she recommends you vote in person instead to better ensure your vote will be counted.
“If they waited this late, that is exactly what we suggest," Oakes said. “Surrender their ballot and vote in person if they cannot drop it off at their Supervisor of Elections office.”
Below are three important reminders Oakes shared with us:
Do your homework first
The ballot in St. Johns County is long, so do some research on the races and ballot issues before casting your ballot. “They need to really take time and study their ballot because it is really long. It is two pages and each page is two-sided, so they will spend less time in the polling place. Their voting will be much more efficient if they are prepared when they go to vote,” Oakes said.
Common Election Day mistakes
A common complaint Oakes said she receives from voters on Election Day is they arrive at their precinct only to learn that they cannot vote there because they moved and failed to update their change of address with her office. “We have had so many address changes, especially with voters moving from county to county into St. Johns from Duval. That is also easily resolved by the elections office. If voters will just give us a call, we can take care of that for them by phone, and direct them to the correct polling place, the first time,” she said.
Another mistake is voters go to an early voting location on Election Day, instead of their precinct. “They have to be re-routed to their correct precinct,” Oakes said. “The law does require voters on Election Day to vote at the precinct of their legal residence. Now, that is easily resolved — we have tools on our website where voters can look up their precinct or they can call the elections office and that can be a real time saver for voters. Make sure you know where you are supposed to vote before you go.”
Check on your mail-in vote
Like other counties, you can check the status of your mail-in ballot on the St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections website. Oakes said over 100 voters have not returned their mail-in ballots after they were rejected for miscellaneous problems. She said her office has requested the “cure," either by mailing a notice to those voters, calling them or sending them an email. “Please respond immediately so we can assist you in getting your ballot cured so it can be counted,” she said. Voters have two days to re-submit a rejected mail-in ballot after the election, or until Thursday, to have that ballot counted.