SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -Election day is just three weeks away and this year because of COVID-19 many people on the Suncoast are choosing to vote by mail.
As of Monday, Sarasota County’s Supervisor of Elections, Ron Turner, said they had about 60,000 voters return their vote-by-mail ballot. Manatee County’s Supervisor of Elections, Michael Bennett, said they had around 42,000 voters return their vote-by-mail ballots.
Voters who chose to vote by mail can return it through the mail or in person at their county’s supervisor of elections office or at an early voting site. Early voting will begin in both counties on Monday, October 19th. A person has until October 24th to request their vote-by-mail ballot. If they are sending it through the mail they need to send it out by October 27th. If a voter is handing it in in person, they have until 7 p.m. on election night to drop it off at their supervisor of elections office.
Both Turner and Bennett said of those ballots that have been returned, only a small percentage has had an issue with their ballot. In Manatee County, Bennett said as of Friday, they had received around 2,500 ballots back that were sent out to a voter’s old address because the voter forgot to update their address. There has also been about 300 ballots where a person signed the wrong ballot and about 300 ballots where the ballot had a bad signature. In Sarasota County, Turner said they have only had a few issues with signatures. Both supervisors say the voters have been notified and they will continue to notify voters if an issue arises.
When it comes to mailing in a ballot, Turner wants to assures voters it will be received regardless if someone messes up the postage.
“The return postage is two forever stamps or 70 cents postage. However, it’s U.S. postal service policy to return those to us regardless of the postage on the outside of the envelope. So it really shouldn’t be a worry for anyone,” said Turner.
Both counties are urging voters to request and send in their ballots as soon as possible . Bennett said doing so will give them time to fix any issues with the ballot if there is any.
“I’m cautioning people, drop it off in person, drop it off in our office, mail it early, so that we’ve got time to react to it,” Bennett said.