TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - A lack of uniformity among Florida’s 67 counties has led to the number of rejected vote-by-mail ballots to vary greatly across the state, according to a report released Wednesday.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida released the study, which says the absentee ballots of young voters and racial minorities are more likely to be rejected than for other groups.
The ACLU does not know why certain groups are rejected more often. Ballots are often flagged for missing or mismatched signatures.
The ACLU report says the procedures to inform voters about rejected ballots and ways to fix them also vary from county to county.
“Whether your vote counts or not should not depend on your zip code. It should not depend on the county that you live in. We need more uniform standards," said Howard Simon, Executive Director, ACLU of Florida.
While not speaking directly to the report, Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley tells voters it is always best to vote in person whenever possible, rather than through the mail.
“We really prefer people, just because it’s a face-to-face environment and encounter, to either come on Election Day or to early voting," said Earley.
The Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections disputes some of the findings of the report, pointing to a 2016 federal court ruling that directs county supervisors to contact people whose signatures have been rejected.
Before the court ruling, such a service was considered optional for a county supervisor.
Voting-by-mail has become increasingly popular each election cycle. During the 2016 election, nearly 30 percent of those who voted did so by mail.