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Advancement Project Urges Voters To Follow Steps When Voting By Mail, After Thousands Of Ballots Rejected

A Main-In-Ballot and a pen
Tomasz Zajda
Adobe Stock

The Advancement Project is stressing that voters properly sign and deliver their mail-in ballots after a study found more than 18,500 ballots went uncounted in Florida’s March Presidential Primary. The report was done by the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project.

Vote-by-mail has been pushed as a safe alternative to voting in person during the global pandemic. It was the most popular voting method in Florida’s March Presidential Preference Primary, but deadlines and rules must be followed to make sure the ballot is counted. The Advancement Project’s Jorge Vasquez believes it’s critical that everyone be aware of the rules.

"As we know from history absentee and mail in ballots are very technical. So we created a robust system to educate voters on how to cast a mail-in ballot, how to track it, to make sure that they're looking to see where their signature is needed," said Vasquez.

In Florida, mail-in ballots must be received by the Local Supervisor of Elections by 7 p.m. on Election Day. While there’s no information on why a ballot gets rejected, researchers believe most of the 18,500 ballots tossed in March came in after the deadline. With more people expected to vote-by-mail in November advocates worry the rejection rate could increase.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.