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Government Watchdog Group Encourages Voters To Track Their Ballot, Raises Concerns Over Hurricane Zeta

Pictured here is an envelope for a vote-by-mail ballot. A pen is on top of the envelope.
Christopher Habermann/The Toidi
Adobe Stock
Common Cause Florida is encouraging voters to submit their absentee ballots as soon as possible.

Government watchdog Common Cause Florida is encouraging voters to track their absentee ballot. The group's Board Chair, Liza McClenaghan, says people need to prepare in case their ballot's signature is missing or doesn't match the one on record.

"The supervisor of elections under new legislation are required to send a first-class letter to this voter to let them know that there's a problem with their signature. But we know that mail is not going to be reaching them in a timely fashion. So, it's important that they call or check the website to find out if there is an issue with their ballot," McClenaghan says.

A voter can fix their ballot by submitting an affidavit and copy of their ID to their elections office by November 5 at 5 p.m. The Department of State's Division of Elections website shows nearly 2 million absentees ballots sent out have not yet been returned. McClenaghan is encouraging voters who haven't returned their mail-in ballots to submit them in-person.

"Because there's no time for the US Postal Service to deliver," McClenaghan says.

Early voting in Okaloosa County ends October 31 at 7 p.m. Mail-in ballots must be returned to the elections office by the time polls close on election day.

Common Cause Florida is raising concerns over Hurricane Zeta's impact on voting in the western panhandle. Hours for early voting sites in Okaloosa County have been temporarily reduced due to the storm. McClenaghan worries the storm could impact the area's postal service.

"The post office, even though it has a motto, may not be able to deliver the mail to voters or return from the voters after a major storm," McClenaghan says.

On October 28, polls close two hours early at 5 p.m. On October 29, polls open two hours late at 9 a.m.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.