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Jeff Vasilinda becomes the Vasilinda Family’s first published author!

Saving Voters From Themselves

October 20th, 2020 by Mike Vasilinda

Across Florida thousands of mail in ballots are already getting a second look by election canvassing officials after voters mis-marked their ballots, changed their minds or chose to waste their votes.

Under Florida law, Canvassing boards include the local Supervisor of Elections, a county judge, and the Chair of the County Commission, but substitutions are allowed if one of the officers is unavailable, or a candidate on the ballot.

Right now, those boards in every county are saving thousands of voters from their own mistakes.

“The last one didn’t go through the machine because they put their I voted sticker on the ballot,” said Mary Ann Lindley, a member of the canvasing board in Leon County.

We observed the Leon County canvassing board in action and took away some key lessons.

Lesson number one: Don’t vote for more than one Candidate in a race.

“Two people for this Presidential. Three people for this Presidential,” said Lindley.

In that case, Joe Biden lost two votes; Trump one.

Lesson two: Don’t use red ink
“That’s basically invisible ink, so we’re very clear on how the voter intended to vote and we are able to remark it for them,” said Holly Thompson on the Leon Elections staff.

Lesson three: Try to be as clear as possible.

“So just be very solid. Those light little ball point pen marks are hard to read,” said Lindley.

On one ballot we saw, the voter tried to erase their first choice.

On another, Joe Biden’s name was bubbled in, but then there was a write in for Will Farrell.

In that case, the board voted to count the Biden vote.

The final lesson: if you plan to vote by mail, don’t wait.

“Don’t mail it to us any later than October 27th, but I would advise you if you are going through the mail, sooner than that,” said Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley.

And if you do vote by mail, you can check online to see if your vote has been counted, and if not, fix any problems.

What’s clear after watching the canvassing board, is that its members go out of their way to make sure the intent of the voter is understood.


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