Florida elections officials urge voters not to mail-in ballot as Election Day nears

'We don't want to have them arrive on Wednesday or Thursday,' Palm Beach Co. election supervisor says
Voter sign
Posted at 4:20 PM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 18:18:14-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Early voting will conclude this weekend in Florida ahead of Tuesday's presidential election.

Nationwide, more than 80 million people have already voted, included six million in the Sunshine State. At the early voting location in Palm Beach Gardens on Friday, John Bizanes decided to skip the line to vote.

"I voted by mail and just dropped my ballot off here at the polling place early," Bizanes said.

Besides voting in person, supervisors of elections in Florida now say it is the safest way to ensure your ballot counts.

"At this point, we are not recommending people drop them in the mail. It is just a little too close [to Election Day], and we don't want to have [the ballots] arrive on Wednesday or Thursday," said Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link.

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link
Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link says voters should either vote in person or deliver their ballot to a drop-off box.

That's because mail-in ballots received after 7 p.m. Tuesday will not be counted. Concerns about the delivery time of the U.S. Postal Service continue.

Palm Beach County's supervisor of elections said both vote-by-mail and early voting turnout have been busy, but they are keeping up with the pace.

"(Friday) we are canvassing ballots. We are duplicating ballots. We're opening ballots. We are actually tabulating today," Sartory Link said.

Most of the process is correcting mistakes and verifying voter signatures.

Palm Beach County is being proactive about getting ballots from the postal service.

"We don't wait for them to bring us mail. We go pick it up, so we go to the distribution center and the other large (supervisor of elections officers) are doing the same thing," Sartory Link said.

Vicki Davis
Martin County Supervisor of Elections Vicki Davis

The early tabulation of ballots as they come in actually relieves some of the intense pressure of having to count everything in one night, which can also help the state tabulate numbers quicker.

Martin County Supervisor of Elections Vicki Davis showed WPTV a room of 37,000 mail-in ballots.

"Our voters have been engaged in this election. Before we even finalized and completed the primary election, they have been ready to vote and wanted to cast their votes in this election for months," Davis said. "We have about a 67 percent turnout already."

With mail-in ballots and early voting, more than 845,000 people have cast ballots from Vero Beach to Boca Raton.