Thousands of mail-in-ballots are now on the way to Leon County voters. This marks the official start of the 2018 primary election.
There are some 28,000 ballots going out , including a few thousand for military personnel and civilian Leon County residents living overseas. They were on their way to Tallahassee’s main post office Wednesday morning. And county Elections Supervisor Mark Earley said the entire vote-by-mail process is now in the hands of an outside contractor.
“It’s been a big endeavor for many years and what we’ve determined is that the amount of resources and the toll it takes on our staff to oversee that gets to be problematic. There are proven vendors out there that other counties have been utilizing for quite a while, especially some of the bigger counties. And we’re using the same vendor for our vote-by-mail that Orange County uses and it’s the same vendor that does our ballot printing,” Earley explained, adding the cost, including postage, runs about $1.50 per ballot.
He said all vote-by-mail ballots must be returned to the local elections office by primary election day, August 28th.
Meanwhile, early voting gets underway in Leon County on August 18th. But one place the county will NOT have as early voting sites are Tallahassee's two universities and community college, even though a federal judge overturned the state's prohibition of those locations on Tuesday. Earley explained that was because the court decision had come too late for his office to set up those sites before the primary. He hoped, however, to have locations on - or at least near - those campuses in the runup to the November 6 general election.