Reports, State News / 03.08.21

Casting, Rejecting, and Curing Vote-by-Mail Ballots in Florida’s 2020 General Election

Against the backdrop of a lethal pandemic, Floridians turned out in record numbers to cast vote by mail ballots in the November 3, 2020, general election. 

Although the state’s election ran smoothly, more than 47,000 Floridiansthe majority of whom were people of color, younger voters, and first-time votershad to follow-up with their elections supervisor to fix or “cure” their ballots before they could count. 

In this report, we examine these disparities and offer recommendations on how Florida’s 67 counties can make the process and validating of mail ballots uniform so that all voters can make their voices heard.

Recommendations:

    • The state must offer greater simplicity with the instructions accompanying VBM ballots; more uniformity in the design of return VBM envelopes; and standard practices to allow voters to cure VBM ballots flagged with a problem;

 

    • Supervisors of Elections (SOEs) should be required to inform voters on their websites not only if a voter’s VBM ballot has been received but if it has been counted as valid;

 

    • The Florida Division of Elections should provide “best practices” guidelines, drawing on counties’ policies and procedures with the lowest rejection and highest cure rates of VBM ballots;

 

  • Florida Statute § 101.68(4)(b) should be revised so that voters casting VBM ballots may cure any deficiencies with their return ballot envelopes until 5 p.m. on the tenth day after the election, which will also allow military and overseas voters an opportunity to cure VBM ballots flagged for rejection that arrives after Election Day.