The reason for this is missing or mismatched signatures, among other problems, with Dems 0.07% more likely than Republicans to have issues raised with their ballots.
In Florida, 3,210,873 voters have cast mail ballots as of Oct. 22. But based on counts from official statewide data, 15,003 of those ballots face rejection. This corresponds to a potential ballot rejection rate of 0.47%.
Still, with over 2 million Floridians yet to return their mail ballots, the number of mail ballots subject to rejection in the Sunshine State could easily surpass 15,000.
Higher Rejection Rates
So far, a larger percentage of rejections have been found among Black, Hispanic and younger voters, three voting blocs that overwhelmingly support Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
According to an analysis published by The Miami Herald, in Miami-Dade County, for example, 0.48% of white voters, 0.86% of Hispanic voters and 1.2% of Black voters have had their mail ballots flagged by elections offices as of Thursday.
Statewide, the variance has been even greater. As of Oct. 15, Hispanic voters in Florida “have been 2.7 times more likely than white voters to have their ballots flagged,” according to the Herald report. The reason for this is missing or mismatched signatures, as well as other problems.
Additionally, the data, which was analyzed by Dan Smith, a political science professor and elections expert at the University of Florida, shows that younger voters have also been more prone to have their ballots flagged for rejection.
For example, in the March presidential primary, new mail voters in Florida were nearly three times as likely to have their ballots rejected, leading analysts to believe that lack of experience with voting procedures could have been a factor.
Smith added that the disparities by race and age are similar to what he has found in past elections: voters who are unfamiliar with the vote-by-mail process are more likely to forget to sign their ballots or make a mistake.
State Democrats —who are leading in mail voting— have been 0.07% more likely than Republicans to have issues raised with their ballots.
However, Florida voters have the opportunity to fix their mail ballots through Thursday, Nov. 5. Here’s how to do it:
- If notified of the error by mail or email, a copy of the affidavit you need to print and fill out will be included.
- If notified by phone, go online to your county elections office website to find the affidavit, Form DS-DE 139 (English PDF / Español PDF). You can also check the status of your ballot at those sites.
- After filling out the affidavit, make a copy of a photo ID (a Florida driver license, a military, student, retirement center, neighborhood association, public assistance ID, or veteran health ID card, among others. Don’t have any of those? You can use a current utility bill, bank statement, or government check or document.
- According to the Florida Department of State Division of Elections, the documentation can be returned by mail, email, fax, or in person. The deadline to submit the form and the ID is no later than 5 p.m. (local time) on the 2nd day after an election. Failure to follow the instructions may cause the ballot not to be counted.
- If your ballot is rejected because it arrived too late (after 7 p.m. on Election Day), it will not count. But if it’s less than four days before Election Day, you may go to any open early voting site or county elections office to deliver your mail-in ballot to a drop-box.