Fill out ballot correctly, or your absentee vote may not count

Posted at 7:39 PM, Oct 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-26 19:39:24-04

Long lines continued on the third day of early voting at Palm Beach county polling places. More than 70,000 absentee ballots have also been sent in countywide.

County commissioner Steven Abrams says some absentee voters are making mistakes that could discount their votes.

"What we found yesterday in our first day of canvassing is that there are a couple of errors that some people make, very understandable but also very avoidable," Abrams said.

He's part of the three member canvassing board that has to review every ballot with errors. The goal is to save ever vote possible.

"We will count the ballots where we can discern what the voters intent is and a lot of times it's easy to do," Abrams said. "They'll put an 'x' through their mistake, or instead of connecting the arrows, they're going to circle 'yes' or 'no' or circle a candidate."

Abrams says that process is time consuming, however. He says he spent eight hours reviewing hundreds of disputable ballots on Tuesday. He adds that he expects the same every day through the end of the election.
"It slows up the process," Abrams said. "If you fill out the ballot correctly the first time, it goes right through the machine, gets counted right away and we can, on the canvassing board, get those results more quickly on election night to our public."

Abrams says one of the most common mistakes is over-voting. Some voters circle two options for the presidential race, instead of one. According to Abrams, some voters try to pair a presidential candidate and an additional candidate who isn't their running mate.

"Maybe a Trump and a Johnson or a Clinton and a Stein," he explained. "In other words, people thinking they can vote for a President and another person on the list as a Vice President."

In those cases, the vote for President is thrown out.

Abrams says voters also tend to get confused in the section that asks about retaining Supreme Court Justices and judges in the District Court of Appeals, some circling yes and no, rather than one or the other.

Abrams also reminds voters that it's okay to leave any section blank.

"If you want to skip a race, you don't know the people, that's fine to skip the race, move on," he said. "The rest of your votes will count."