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Make sure your vote counts by signing ballot with proper signature

Posted at 8:16 PM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 00:25:31-04

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA — So you've done the research, picked your candidate and mailed in your ballot.

You probably think you're good to do and for most people, you probably are.

But elections leaders in southwest Florida, say more and more, they're having to invalidate ballots because the signature on ballots and the ones they have they on file don't match.

"The biggest issue for vote by mail votes being thrown out is their signature is incorrect," said Susan Housel of the Collier County League of Women Voters.

So how do decide if it's incorrect?

The Lee county Supervisor of Elections, Tommy Doyle, says this is their process for verifying signatures:

"Basically when we get your envelope in, we're going to pull up your file. Your file will have your signature when your registered to vote, it may be a signature from when you got your driver's license, it may be a signature when you voted in person," he said.

After having your ballot signature reviewed by a worker and a supervisor, if they're still not sure it matches, the ballot gets kicked up to a canvassing board, made up of the supervisor of elections, a judge and a county commissioner.

"We will go through each envelope and look at the file signature compared to the envelope signature and either agree with the staff and disagree with the staff," said Doyle.

After all that, and even with them trying to contact people to correct the issue, about 300 ballots were still invalidated in this year's primary in Lee county. Doyle says it's because people didn't try respond when they reached out, showed up too late, or didn't have updated contact information on file.

It's a trend Housel says they're also seeing in collier county.

"They do reach out and they're very good about reaching out, but once somebody's sent that ballot off, the chance of somebody coming back and correcting that is very low," she said.

There a few ways to keep this from happening to you.

For starters, you can provide your elections office with updated contact info so they can reach out if there's a problem with your signature. Once they reach out, you'll then have two days after the election to send them a signed affidavit and copy of your ID to "cure" the ballot and prove it belongs to you.

But you Doyle says you don't have to wait until after you've cast your ballot to update your signature. You can also fill out a new voter registration application form beforehand to update your signature, just check the "record update/change" box at the top when doing so.

"You have until we tabulate your ballot to get that signature updated and in," he said.

If you need to "cure" your ballot after you've mailed in your ballot, you have until November 5, 2020 to do so. Here is the link to the affidavit for your corresponding elections office:

If you want to update your signature on file before sending in your ballot, click here for a link to the generic Florida voter registration form.

Key Dates and Deadlines in Florida

Tues, Nov. 3: In-Person Voting
Fri, Nov. 13: Absentee/Mail-In Delivered By Date