Alachua County begins processing absentee ballots

By on October 25th, 2012

The Alachua County Supervisor of Elections office has received more than 30,000 requests for absentee ballots. The Canvassing Board reviews these requests and has already returned more than 11,000.

All absentee ballots must be sent to the office by 7 p.m. Nov. 6, said Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter.

County Commissioner and Canvassing Board member Winston Bradley said the office is investigating 349 absentee ballot signatures that don’t match voter’s signatures on file.

Bradley said some voters lose the ability to sign their name when they undergo health complications like strokes.

“That’s the most difficult part of the job is having to reject a ballot. In some cases, they just really don’t match,” he said.  “And other times, they’re just really not in fact the signature of the voter. The daughter signed the ballot for them or someone else signed it for them, which is illegal.”

Carpenter stressed the importance of following instructions for absentee ballots.

“If you make a mistake, call the office and let us send you another ballot,” she said. We’ll cancel the first one and send you a second one because erasures and all will cause problems with the equipment.”

She said voters must make sure they sign the certificate on the back of the return envelope.

“Florida law requires that the signature be there and if you forget to sign it, we are not allowed to accept it,” she said. “Every time a ballot comes into the office, we compare the signature on the back of the certificate envelope to the signature on file for the voter… We’re looking at the two signatures to confirm that it came from our voter and that someone didn’t get hold of that and just put a signature on it.”

Kelly Price wrote this story for online.

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