By Susan Hardee Steger
October 4, 2020
Vote By Mail Ballots can be dropped off at all early voting locations. On Election Day, Mail Ballots must be delivered to the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections Office at the James S. Page Governmental Complex, 96135 Nassau Place, Yulee, Florida 32097.
For those concerned over entering polling places to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vote By Mail is an option. With conflicting information about Vote by Mail permeating social media and news outlets, we asked Vicki Cannon, Nassau County Supervisor of Elections to provide information about the number of mail ballots that were rejected in Nassau County during the 2016 Presidential Election.
Late arrival is the main reason a mail ballot is not counted. Ballots must be received by 7:00 p.m. on election day. Results from Nassau County’s 2016 Presidential Election year show 52 mail ballots arrived late and were rejected.
What percentage of mail ballots were rejected by the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections Office when voting took place during Nassau County’s 2016 Presidential Election?
Vicki Cannon: “Out of 10,293 returned Vote by Mail ballots, 71 were rejected. Therefore, percentage of returned ballots that were rejected was: 71 ÷ 10293 = 0.0068978917711066 = 0.68978917711066%”
How many were rejected due to signature?
“Out of 10,293 returned Vote by Mail ballots, 14 were rejected by the Canvassing Board [due to signature.] Therefore, percentage of returned ballots that were rejected was: 14 ÷ 10293 = 14 ÷ 10293 = 0.0013601476731759 = 0.13601476731759% “
” . . . the Canvassing Board only rejected 14 ballots due to the following two reasons (no signature and signature difference). All voters were contacted about their voter error but did not respond. However, after being notified of the voter error, many voters cure the error and their ballots are tabulated.
There has been much discussion among Supervisors of Elections this year and in past years about groups, media, professors, etc. who report in inaccurate studies or articles about the high rejection rates of VBMs, so I wanted to make it clear that there is a difference between what the Canvassing Board rejects and the ballots that are received late.’
‘When a ballot is received with no signature, we send a letter to the voter that day advising of the voter error, and then call and/or email if they have contact information in their voter record. We do know whose ballot it is because their name, address, barcode, etc. are on the Voter Certificate side of the return envelope. Any candidate, political committee or political party that requests the vote by mail data file through our portal is provided the information and, therefore, they can call the voters too. We have nothing to do with whether they contact voters or not. Florida law requires that we provide the vote by mail data if requested.”
How many Vote by Mail Ballots were rejected because they were late?
“52 were not tabulated due to being received after the deadline of Election Day at 7 p.m. for domestic and 10 days after Election Day for absent stateside military/dependent and overseas voters. Florida law does not permit ballots that are received late to be tabulated. Therefore, percentage of returned ballots that were received late was: 52 ÷ 10293 = 0.0050519770717964 = 0.50519770717964%”
At the end of the 2016 presidential election, a total of 10,293 mail ballots were received. As of Sunday, October 4, with 30 days until the November 3 Election Day, mail ballots for Nassau County total 4,726. Of the total received, Republican ballots total 2,175, Democrat ballots total 1,758, and No Party Affiliation total 719.
Update: As of October 5, a total of 5,011 ballots have been received. Of the total received, 2,296 are Republicans, 1, 864 Democrats, and 770 are No Party Affliation, and 81 other.
To reassure Vote By Mail voters, the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections Office website offers vote by mail tracking. Voters can check to make sure their ballot was received by the Supervisor of Elections Office and even check to make sure their vote was counted. Florida allows canvassing boards to count mail ballots before election day. Those who vote by mail can view their vote by mail status by clicking here.
Further Vote by Mail Ballot Information From N C Supervisor of Elections
WHO CAN VOTE BY MAIL?
Any registered and qualified voter who is eligible to vote in an election may cast their ballot by mail.
OVERSEAS AND MILITARY VOTERS
Balloting materials for uniformed service members and civilians overseas are mailed 45 days prior to an election. To request your vote-by-mail ballot, please visit this page: Military & Overseas Voters
HOW TO REQUEST A VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT
A vote-by-mail ballot may be requested for a specific election or for all elections through the next two regularly scheduled general elections. The request can be made in person, by postal mail, by electronic mail or by telephone. Only the voter or designated member of his or her immediate family or legal guardian can request a vote-by-mail ballot for the voter. Immediate family means the spouse, parent, child, grandparent or sibling of the voter, or the parent, grandparent or sibling of the voter’s spouse.
A request from the voter must include the following information:
- Voter’s name and address
- Voter’s date of birth
- Address where the ballot should be mailed*
- The specific elections you are requesting
- Voter’s signature (written requests only)
* Vote-by-Mail ballots cannot be forwarded. Please ensure you provide our office with the correct mailing address for ballot delivery. Contact our office or complete the following form to update your mailing address: Online Address Change Form
Requests for ballots to be mailed to an address other than an address on file in your voter registration record must be made in writing and signed by the voter.
If the voter has designated an immediate family member or legal guardian to request a vote-by-mail ballot, that designee must provide the above information in addition to the following:
- The requester’s name
- The requester’s address
- The requester’s relationship to the voter
- The requester’s driver’s license number, if available
- The requester’s signature (written requests only)
OBTAINING YOUR VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT
All requested vote-by-mail ballots are sent 40 days prior to each election. Be sure the Elections Office has your correct mailing address. Vote-by-mail ballots are not forwarded by the US Postal Service.
All requested vote-by-mail ballots for overseas military and overseas civilian voters are sent at least 45 days prior to each election.
VOTE-BY-MAIL REQUEST DEADLINE
Requests for vote-by-mail ballots must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on the tenth day before an election, according to Florida law.
VOTE-BY-MAIL PICK UP BY DESIGNEE
Beginning on the 9th day before Election Day:
A qualified voter may designate, in writing, another person to pick up a vote-by-mail ballot for the voter. Florida law limits the number of ballots a designee may pick up to the following:
- The designee’s own ballot
- Ballots for any member of his or her immediate family
- Ballots for two (2) other voters (that do no fall in the categories above)
The designee must provide picture identification, the written authorization from the voter and complete an Affidavit. The following Affidavit can be printed :
On Election Day:
Vote by Mail ballots may only be picked up at the Supervisor of Elections Office on Election Day by the voter or the voter’s designee if there is an emergency to the extent that the voter will be unable to go to his or her assigned polling place. The Election Day Vote-by-Mail Ballot Delivery Affidavit must be completed stating the nature of the emergency.
The following Affidavit can be printed and completed:
MARKING THE VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT
The voter must personally vote the ballot unless assistance is required due to blindness, disability or inability to read or write. The voter must sign/mark the return envelope. The vote-by-mail ballot will not be counted if the return envelope is not signed or the signature does not match the signature on file for the voter.
MISSING SIGNATURE OR IF SIGNATURE DOES NOT MATCH ON BALLOT:
If the voter did not sign the Voter’s Certificate on the return envelope or the voter’s signature does not match the signature in the voter’s voter registration record, the following Affidavit must be completed and received in the Elections office by 5:00 p.m. on the 2nd day after the election.
RETURNING YOUR VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT
You must mail, personally deliver or have someone else deliver your vote-by-mail ballot inside the completed mailing envelope to the Elections Office. Additionally, a secure drop box is available at all early voting sites during early voting hours.
Vote-by-mail ballots must be returned no later than 7:00 P.M. on Election Day. Vote-by-mail ballots cannot be turned in at the polling place on Election Day. If a voter has requested a vote-by-mail ballot and chooses to vote in person at the polls, the vote-by-mail ballot would then be canceled and the voter would be issued a new ballot.
The United States Postal Service recommends that ballots be mailed to the Elections office at least one week prior to Election Day to ensure they are received timely. Be sure there is sufficient postage if mailed.
TRACK YOUR VOTE BY MAIL BALLOT
I’ve requested a vote-by-mail ballot; has it been mailed yet? I already voted my vote-by-mail ballot and mailed it in, has it been received by the Elections Office? Track the status of your vote-by-mail ballot at My Voter Status.
Our county Elections Office does an awesome job. Florida’s laws do not make it as easy to vote as some states, but also are not as restrictive as some others. One advantage to getting your ballot in early (either by mail or dropping it off at a polling place) is you’ll get a notification before election day if there is a problem. But, why wait? Track your ballot!
I agree that our county elections office does a great job and should serve as an example of how to make best efforts to assure that all votes are counted and prevent fraud. I have worked at the polls, gone through the required training and served on the canvassing board. The training is thorough, the staff is friendly, responsive, and very professional. It’s too bad that the Florida model is not adopted across the country. There is no reason why people cannot obtain proper voting ID’s as is required here which helps prevent voter fraud. The steps being taken in some other states – that is, sending ballots to everyone on the voter registry whether they requested a ballot or not, as well as extending the deadline for accepting mail-in ballots for several days beyond the close of polls on election day is an open invitation for fraud. As noted here, ballots in Florida must be requested and are tracked via bar codes, and must be received by 7 PM on election day.
Please tell people that they can drop off their “mail-in” ballot at any early voting place during early voting or drop off at Supervisor of Elections. That way you don’t have to use the US mail.
We did mention dropping ballots at early voting locations. I will add SOE office. Thank you.