This Saturday, August 8th marks the final day many Floridians can request vote by mail ballots for the upcoming August 18th primary election.
Supervisors of Election in Palm Beach, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties will no longer accept vote by mail requests after the 8th, the tenth day before the primary election.
“The deadline to request that a vote-by-mail ballot be mailed to you for the August 18, 2020 Primary Election is no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 8, 2020. If you miss the deadline, you can visit one of our offices and we will print a mail ballot for you. Or you can vote in person during Early Voting or on Election Day,” according to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections website.
Florida does not mail ballots out to every registered voter, something opponents of vote by mail often refer to as “universal vote by mail.” Instead, in the sunshine state, residents are required to request a vote by mail ballot.
Vote by mail ballots are signed by the voter and that signature is cross-checked against a signature in the Supervisor of Elections database.
“If the signature does not match or if you forgot one we’re going to put that ballot aside until you’ve had an opportunity to come in and cure that signature,” said Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link.
Vote by mail has received criticism, particularly from President Trump and well-known republicans who say the practice allows for significant fraud. Democrats have countered, saying there is very little statistical evidence of fraud through mail-in voting.
President Trump, however, condones voting by mail in his home state of Florida, tweeting "Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail!"
In Florida, a mail-in ballot must be received by a county’s Supervisor of Elections by 7 p.m. on election night to be counted. The Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections recommends mailing your ballot roughly a week before election day. Voters also have the option of dropping their mail-in ballot off at the Supervisor of Elections Office or at an early voting site.
CBS 12 News is in the process of conducting an experiment that tests how long it takes mock ballots to arrive at a mock Supervisor of Elections site, simulating how long it could take your ballot to make it in. The goal is to provide viewers with better guidance a to what happens to their ballot after they put it in a mailbox and when they should consider mailing their ballot.