Can someone else request a vote-by-mail ballot using your name?

Posted at 9:49 PM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-09 21:49:19-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla — Can someone request a vote-by-mail ballot for you without you knowing?

Tommy Doyle, Supervisor of Elections Office, says it's possible.

But there are steps the ballot has to go through before it gets counted.

“You can pretend you’re somebody that’s requesting it for myself, and you have all the information, it’s possible, ” Tommy Doyle says.

He says it still has to go through a major safeguard.

“You gotta remember when they send it back that signature has to match,” Doyle says.

Public Information Officer with the Collier County Supervisor of Elections Trish Robertson says for someone to request a vote-by-mail ballot for you, they would first need your information.

“You do need to know some identifying information, including the voter’s name, they’re date of birth, in some instances their address,” Robertson says.

While this voter registration information is public record, other information like your driver's license number, social security, and signature is not.

Vote-by-mail ballots can be requested online.

It’ll ask you for basic information like your name, birthday, house number.

But what you can’t do online is change the address where your ballot will be mailed to.

In Florida, vote-by-mail ballots are only sent upon request, and when requested, they're sent to the address on file for you in the elections office.

“If you have someone that is trying to order a ballot for you erroneously, and they wanted it sent to a different address that isn’t in your voter record, we do need that information in writing with a signature," Robertson says.

Robertson says legally, only and immediate family member can request a ballot for you.

But even then, it needs your signature.

“Even if a spouse ended up requesting your ballot, maybe you forgot about it, maybe they accidentally ended up signing it for you," Robertson says.

"It wouldn’t count because we would stop it right at that verification process, take a look at the voter registration record to see what the voter’s signature really looks like.”

But when in doubt, both Doyle and Roberton say you can call your elections office.

“They can also track their ballot too if they think somebody requested a ballot for them," Doyle says.

"They can go online and see if one was requested if one was sent and if one was received."

Robertson says they are very confident in the vote-by-mail process, and they're very transparent about it too.

"You can view everything about the status about your vote by mail ballot," Robertson says.

The deadline to request your vote-by-mail ballot is October 24th by 5 pm, and it needs to be returned by 7 pm on election night.