Battleground Florida: Should vote-by-mail deadlines be extended in Sunshine State?

Election

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — We are about a month and a half away from this year’s general election and several important deadlines for voters are coming up in the next few weeks.

The first, and probably one of the most important, dates you need to know if you plan on voting is the voter registration deadline. The last day you can register to vote in Florida is 29 days before the general election. This year, the deadline is Oct. 5, 2020.

You can register to vote or update your current voter registration information online.

This year’s election is expected to look different than previous elections as the country continues to battle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While it has been a highly-controversial topic, many voters have looked to mail-in ballots as an alternative to traditional in-person voting.

If you’ve never voted by mail but want to for the general election in November, you will have to request a ballot. The last day you’re able to request a mail ballot in Florida is Oct. 24 at 5 p.m.

If you’re voting by mail, your ballot must be returned and received by 7 p.m. on Election Day – Nov. 3. The Department of State recommends voting and sending your ballot back as soon as you can. You can also return your ballot to secure drop boxes located at your supervisor of elections offices and early voting sites. You can check your local elections supervisor’s website for drop box locations.

If your local supervisor of elections finds your signature is missing or doesn’t match the one they have on record, they will notify you so you can complete a “vote-by-mail ballot cure” form. The deadline to submit that form along with a copy of your identification is no later than 5 p.m. on the second day after the election.

8 On Your Side Investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi found out thousands of ballots were rejected in Florida’s primary election in August because they either had a signature issue that wasn’t cured in time or they arrived too late. Months before that, an analysis found 18,000 mail ballots weren’t counted in the March presidential primary in Florida.

Voting groups have called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to extend vote-by-mail deadlines in the Sunshine State so more votes can be counted. They believe mail-in numbers will be even larger in November and say change is necessary in a battleground state where elections are decided by razor-thin margins.

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court granted a request Thursday to order an extension of the state’s Election Day-deadline for mailed-in ballots. The state will now allow ballots three days after Election Day.

You can learn more about mail-in voting on the Department of State website.

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