SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – All day on Monday, voters could be seen dropping off the mail-in ballots they did not return by mail at the Seminole County’s Supervisor of Elections Office in Sanford.
Elections Supervisor Chris Anderson said more mail-in ballots were handed in versus mailed in than ever before.
“We saw this trend in the primary where folks were bypassing the mailbox and coming directly to us, and they did it again,” Anderson said. “In the first two days of early voting, we had almost 20,000 vote-by-mail ballots returned to the drop boxes. We couldn’t get them emptied and placed in a secure bag fast enough.”
Anderson said the 100,000th mail-in ballot was just returned in Seminole County.
“Seminole County just hit 100,000 vote-by-mail ballots,” Anderson said. “The perspective on that is we got 63,000 returned in 2016, so almost 40,000 more voters in Seminole County voted by mail than in 2016.”
And some 33,000 vote-by-mail ballots are still outstanding, Anderson said.
“The best thing to do is, if you have a vote-by-mail ballot, just bring it directly to us. We’re here today, open during normal business hours,” Anderson said. “You can bring it in, we’ve got folks coming in as we speak dropping off their vote-by-mail ballots. They can do that all the way up until 7 p.m. tomorrow night.”
Anderson said the other option if you’re still holding onto a mail-in ballot is to vote in person on Tuesday at your assigned polling location.
“We will ask you to surrender your vote-by-mail ballot, we’ll write ‘canceled’ on it, put it in a secure bag, and then issue you a fresh new ballot so you can cast your vote,” Anderson said.
Even if you don’t bring your mail-in ballot with you to your assigned polling place on Tuesday, you can still vote.
“They [poll workers] won’t be confused, this is something we go through in training quite a bit. Because they understand that actually when they check you in, it alerts them on your record that you were given a mail ballot, so they’re actually trained to ask you for the mail ballot," he said. "Then if you don’t have it, that’s okay, they’ll just tell you to go ahead and destroy it because we count the first ballot that comes back.”
Anderson said if you vote in person, your record will be updated as soon as you check in to reflect that you voted, whether you still have a mail-in ballot or not.
“So when you turn away from the check-in table, after you receive your ballot, instantaneously your record is marked as ‘voted,'" Anderson said. "So we take the first one that comes back. So even if you have placed your ballot in the mail, it would be automatically rejected because your record will have been marked as ‘voted’ on Election Day.”