JACKSONVILLE, FLa. – While we watch ballots being counted around in other battleground states, the process has pretty much ended in Florida. However, hundreds of voters in Northeast Florida are just learning their votes did not count.
While most of those voters were notified by county elections officials they had until close of business Thursday to either verify their signature, show their identification or otherwise “cure” their ballots, that deadline passed and more than 1,700 votes cast will not count.
Despite every voter we spoke with in recent days wanted to make sure their mail ballot or in-person vote counted, there were hundreds that did not.
“We notified a little over 1,000 that had signature issues. I think we got back about 700,” Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said.
A total of 258 mail-in ballots were rejected in Jacksonville because the signature on the ballot envelope didn’t match the one on file and the voter did not respond by the deadline.
During early voting or on Tuesday, 1,117 people cast provisional ballots because they couldn’t produce photo identification. Those were reviewed by the canvassing board and the vast majority were rejected.
“Most of the ones that were rejected were not registered. The other problems were they did not go to the right precinct. Those are just rejected out of hand. There is nothing you can do about that,” Hogan said.
In St Johns County, there were 132 mail ballots that were rejected because of signatures and 122 provisional ballots were not accepted.
Clay County had 258 vote-by-mail ballots rejected and only four provisional ballots from in-person voting that were not accepted.
Clay County elections officials reported there were three ballots of people who deceased that were sent in by family members. One of those cases was turned over to the state attorney’s office for investigation.
Also, 66 people sent in the wrong ballot -- apparently using ones from the August primary.
For the most part, election officials believe the process went well this year. Despite a record number of mail ballots, the vote count certainly went quickly despite record mail-in ballots and the largest voter turnout in 28 years -- earning praise for a state still living down jokes over it’s hanging chads and butterfly ballots in 2000.
The election process is not completely finished in Florida. Each county must have unofficial results to the state by noon Saturday, but the deadline for receipt of mail ballots isn’t until next Friday. Official results are due to the state by Nov. 17 -- two weeks after Election Day.
There will also be an audit of the entire voting system by doing a hand verification of one precinct to make sure the electronic numbers match a hand count. That must be completed and made public by Nov. 22.