What to do if your mail-in ballot is rejected for a mismatched signature

If you vote by mail, you probably know the rules: Fill out your ballot, sign the back of the envelope, and drop it in the mail.

But not all of those mail-in ballots are arriving at elections offices “signed, sealed, and delivered.”

The problem, they say, is the signature.

“We have about 400 that were rejected by the canvassing board because they were not signed, or the signature doesn’t match,” said Polk County supervisor of elections Lori Edwards.

When that happens, the ballot gets stamped with a red ‘rejection’ mark.

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While voting by mail may be new to many voters, signature issues aren’t – at least for supervisors of elections. Hillsborough’s Craig Latimer says, so far, his office has seen just over 800.  The good news is, there’s a fix.

“I’ve got a team on this, where we’re reaching out immediately and trying to contact these people, because the cure process is pretty easy,” Latimer said.  “All you have to do is fill out the affidavit and then furnish us with an acceptable form of identification, and then you’re done. You’re good to go.”

At least 354 of those, Latimer says, have already been cured. 

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To make sure your vote counts, there are several things to know about early voting in Florida and voting by mail in 2020. Here is county-by-county information about voting deadlines and methods in the Tampa Bay area.

But if you’re concerned, he says, just check online.

“They can track that ballot, so if they think there’s a problem, it’s probably going to show 'received and counted.'”

Edwards says, in Polk County, voters will be contacted to ensure they have time to cure their ballots. 

She says if you still have a mail-in ballot, don’t put it in the mail -- it’s getting too close to Election Day. Instead, drop it off at an early voting site or just bring it to your county’s elections office.