ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - With Florida already experiencing high vote-by-mail turnout, the Pinellas County supervisor of elections took the time Monday to explain what happens to ballots once they reach the elections office.
In Pinellas County, the ballots pass through a machine that scans the signatures on all the envelopes. After they are scanned, an official elections employee cross-checks the ballot signature with other signatures on file.
If the ballot is considered verified, the ballot is then opened.
To make sure there is complete secrecy, the ballots are separated from their envelopes and secrecy sleeve before being tabulated. The ballots are sent down a dumbwaiter to the first floor, directly to the tabulation room, where they are tabulated.
The opening process and the tabulation are open to the public and can be viewed in the viewing room at the office of elections.
“If you have an issue with your signature, whether it’s a variation or you forgot to sign the certificate return envelope, yes, our office immediately contacts the voter through mail. Or it’s been provided to us, by text, phone call, or email. We make every effort to count ballots. That is what we do as administrators is to make the process as accessible as possible while maintaining the integrity. We want ballots to count,” explained Julie Marcus, the supervisor of elections of Pinellas County.
Florida’s fall primary is tomorrow, leaving no time to mail your ballot if you haven’t yet. But your vote can still count. Drop the ballot off at one of the three elections offices in Pinellas County or your designated polling place. The deadline to turn in your ballot is tomorrow at 7pm.
Marcus also recommends going to www.votepinellas.com for the most up-to-date information and to track your mail-in vote.