Vote-by-mail ballot ends up at a Cape Coral Church by mistake

Posted at 10:01 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 13:02:05-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla — A signed and sealed vote-by-mail ballot ended up at a Cape Coral Church, but how it got there might surprise you.

Pastor Donald Neace of Water's Edge Church found the ballot when he went to check the church's mailbox on Saturday.

Pastor Neace says he was confused, and he worried about how exactly it had gotten there.

“I picked it out of there, and I began to really question why would I be getting this," Pastor Neace says.

"Is this a mix up through the elections? Is a mix up by the person who mailed it? Is it a mix up from the postal delivery? Just a lot of questions."

But after looking closer at the envelope, it didn't seem that the postal service had processed it.

“As far as I can tell, [the voter] did all the right things except it didn’t get to where it’s supposed to go," Neace says.

"So, I want to help make sure that happens.”

Water's Edge Church serves as a polling location during election day, leading Pastor Neace to wonder if the voter had accidentally dropped the ballot off at the Church.

“We’ve been a polling place for about the last five years, and this is the first time this has ever happened,” Pastor Neace says.

Hoping to get the ballot back to the vote, Pastor Neace called the number on the ballot but did not receive an answer.

So, FOX 4's Sandra Rodriguez went with him to drop off the ballot directly at the voter's home.

The voter, Nancy Dugger, confirmed she accidentally dropped the ballot in the Church's locked mailbox, thinking it was a designated ballot drop box.

“We believe every vote counts, so we wanted to make sure you got yours in,” said Pastor Neace.

A happy ending to an otherwise peculiar situation.

“I am happy to get it back because I’ve been voting since 1944,” said Dugger.

Pastor Neace says her excitement to get her ballot back and have her vote counted warms his heart.

The Lee County Supervisor of Elections tells FOX 4 he's never heard of a filled-out vote-by-mail ballot ending up in the wrong mailbox before.

But to put voters' minds at ease, vote-by-mail-ballots can be tracked online.

Key Dates and Deadlines in Florida

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