VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) – A handful of Volusia County races in the primary election were decided by less than 500 votes, but more than three times that number of mail ballots were never counted.
A communications breakdown with the United States Postal Service appears to be to blame and the Postal Service is promising the “glitch” in the operation won’t happen again.
“These ballots could have been counted, should have been counted. Absolutely. When they are date-stamped in Orlando Aug. 17, we should have had them Aug. 18,” said Lisa Lewis, Volusia County Elections Supervisor.
The ballots were at the main Orlando distribution center of the Postal Service.
There were 1,281 undelivered mail ballots postmarked Aug. 17, the day before the election, and another 366 postmarked on or after Election Day, a total of 1,647 ballots that did not arrive in time.
The elections supervisor tells our NBC affiliate WESH 2 News that she was told on Election Day, there were no ballots for Volusia County, but was later told that was a mistake.
“You know we want every ballot that can be counted to be counted. You know, no matter how many they are. I just needed to know there were some there,” Lewis said.
A Postal Service spokesman tells WESH 2 News, “While we were able to expedite many of the ballots through our network on Election Day, we were unfortunately unable to capture and expedite every ballot. We are taking actions to reduce the risk of this occurring again.”
While the postal problem may be rare, every county received a number of mail ballots too late, because they arrived after 7 p.m. on Election Day. Nearly 1,300 arrived too late in Orange County’s primary.
Elections supervisors say there’s really no excuse not to get your mail ballot in early, you can even drop it off at their headquarters and during early voting, you can drop them off there as well.
If you do decide to mail your ballot, you’re taking a chance it may arrive late.
“Sometimes they come in two days and that’s wonderful but, I would allow five to seven days,” Lewis said.
The nation’s postmaster general has been under pressure from House Democrats who claim he’s ordering system-wide changes that could slow the delivery of mail ballots for the November election.
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