Exclusive Breaking: 1,100 Florida Voters Disenfranchised Today

Election Law Center has learned that 1,100 Florida voters will not be able to participate in today's state primary because of snafus by the government.  300 absentee voters in Martin County (FL) and 800 in Indian River County (FL) did not receive their requested absentee ballots in time to participate in today's important primary election because the United States Post Office treated the bulk absentee ballot mailings as third class mail.  The ballots were deposited by Martin and Indian River County election officials with the United States Post Office nearly three weeks ago, but the USPS office in Jacksonville treated the absentee ballot mailings as third class mail. 

Some of the voters just today received their absentee ballots by mail, and today is the day of the election.  According to attorneys knowledgeable with Florida election law, these ballots may not be faxed, emailed or otherwise returned electronically.  That means 1,100 voters who sought to participate in the election will not be allowed to participate.

Who is running?  There are primaries for United States Senate, Alan West vs. Robert Crowder, State House, County Commissioner, Sheriff, School Supervisors, and other Congressional offices.  Examine a sample ballot here.

 
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Comments

  • August 14, 2012 Jeff H wrote:
    Someone needs to do a demographic analysis of the disenfranchised voters. I'd lay dollars to donuts they're all Republicans. "Disenfranchised" in this case means "Democrats running the USPS don't want you to vote".
    Reply to this
    1. August 14, 2012 Leigh wrote:
      I don't know about Indian River County, but I lived two years in Martin County. It's heavily Republican. When I lived there the Democratic Party was practically meaningless. So yes, those were almost certainly Republican ballots. At least it was a Primary election and not a general. But, assuming it's similar to PB County, there were non-partisan races (judges, school board members, and Sheriff) that were on the ballot, all important races.
      Reply to this
  • August 14, 2012 Paul A'Barge wrote:
    I tried to get an absentee ballot in Texas for the most recent election (yay! Cruz). It was a huge PIA. And, I monitored the process of delivery of an absentee ballot religiously. So, I ended up jumping in my car and driving like hades on the last day of early voting so that my vote (yay! Cruz) would count.

    The people in Florida who wanted an absentee ballot should have received one in a timely fashion, but when it comes to your making your vote count, you don't leave it up to the election workers. You get your ass to the polls and vote.
    Reply to this
    1. August 14, 2012 KC wrote:
      Some people request absentee ballots for the very simple reason that THEY CAN NOT GET TO THE POLLS TO VOTE. Such as the very old, disabled and lest we forget our fine men and women in uniform. The USPS screwed up and for that I hope they go under. Somebodys rump needs to be in a sling over this.
      Reply to this
  • August 14, 2012 Anonymous wrote:
    The Voting Rights Section of the DoJ will be on this in 10....9....8....7....
    Reply to this
  • August 14, 2012 Glenn and Katy Koons wrote:
    Living in the soviet republic of Ca., where illegals seem in every election to vote but the FEC does nada ...until the next year, this report from Fla. is a start. Reading stats, not just charges, there seems to be felons, illegals, two time voters and they should be taken from all, all 50 state voting rolls. That Dems want to stop our military voters but allow this seems to our family shameful.
    Reply to this
  • August 14, 2012 Willy wrote:
    I guess it was too expensive to hire 1,100 Black Panthers with clubs, so they had to count on the USPS.
    Reply to this
    1. August 14, 2012 Diggs wrote:
      No need to hire them, they are already on welfare, i.e. on Obama's payroll. The hard part is getting them off the couch.
      Reply to this
  • August 14, 2012 Don Fulano wrote:
    Really, unless someone is limited from voting by physical infirmity or physical proximity (i.e., Armed Forces), as citizens do we really want them to vote?

    I mean, if they can't be bothered to make a small sacrifice to exercise the franchise?
    Reply to this
    1. August 14, 2012 Another Don wrote:
      Don,
      I always show up on election day. It makes me feel more a part of the process and I like to see my vote actually enter the machine. On the other hand, my girlfriend always votes absentee. This year, she was suddenly called away because her mother had emergency surgery. Had she not mailed her vote in, she would have, for the first time in her adult life, missed it.
      Reply to this
    2. August 14, 2012 Mr. Krishan wrote:
      Thing is, I believe that the majority of absentee balloters ARE military and infirm.

      But even if they weren't - to not allow them to those who aren't is potentially the equivalent of a poll tax. Let's not go there.
      Reply to this
  • August 14, 2012 Charles Fenwick wrote:
    "Some of the voters just today received their absentee ballots by mail, and today is the day of the election. According to attorneys knowledgeable with Florida election law, these ballots may not be faxed, emailed or otherwise returned electronically. That means 1,100 voters who sought to participate in the election will not be allowed to participate."

    People who received their ballots today can handcarry their ballot to the Supervisor of Elections office or designate someone to do so. (It's not uncommon for campaigns that aggressively track absentee voting to send people out to people's houses to collect ballots to take to the Supervisor's office; however, they are limited to taking back only two ballots that are not their own or that of their immediate family).

    Those who didn't get their ballot but for are able to go to their precinct to vote may do so (IIRC, they cast a provisional ballot and affirm that they did not vote the absentee ballot).

    Granted, people who requested an absentee ballot and are out of the area are not going to be able to participate; no telling how many of the 1100 voters that applies to.
    Reply to this
    1. August 14, 2012 Christian Adams wrote:
      People who received their ballots today and are located thousands of miles away CANNOT "handcarry their ballot to the Supervisor of Elections.
      Reply to this
      1. August 14, 2012 Charles Fenwck wrote:
        Indeed, I said as such in my last paragraph.

        It's not clear from your write up where these voters in question are located. Granted, logically,, ballots going through Jacksonville aren't going to voters living in Martin or Indian River Counties... But given the SNAFU that occurred, there's no telling.

        .

        If you have information that the voters in question are exclusively legal residents of said counties who live out-of-state or out-of-country, you ought to update your post accordingly. Much greater probability that there was military voter disenfranchisement if that's the case.

        Side-comment addressing a couple of other comments: In Florida, absentee voting is pretty common, a fair bit more so than in some places as one isn't required to affirm that they would be unable to vote in person (It may be more accurate descriptively to refer to it as voting by mail.) When I voted today, there were cards available that would have allowed me to request having absentee ballots automatically mailed to me for every election from the 2012 general election to the 2014 general election.
        Reply to this
  • August 14, 2012 SBD wrote:
    Both those counties have huge Republican majorities of registered voters. I'm wondering about Brevard. My daughter had to go out of town almost two weeks ago and never received her absentee ballot either.
    Reply to this
    1. August 14, 2012 Fox 2 wrote:
      I received a Brevard County absentee ballot two or three weeks ago. Plenty of time to send it back.
      Reply to this
    2. August 21, 2012 SBD wrote:
      Update: It turned out they sent her ballot to the address she last voted absentee (as a college student in 2008). So, even though you are registered to vote under one address, they will send your ballot to the same address as the last absentee request, unless you tell them otherwise.
      Reply to this
  • August 14, 2012 Immolate wrote:
    I'm voting for incompetence over malice this time. It's a primary. The only D vs. R action is in non-partisan races.
    Reply to this
    1. August 14, 2012 Christian Adams wrote:
      Whether it is incompetence or malice isn't the most important issue.  The most important issue is that thousands of people didn't get their ballots in time to participate fully in the political process, regardless of the reason.
      Reply to this
    2. August 14, 2012 Kevin wrote:
      Incorrect, Allen West who has almost 100% of the military vote is running against a "republican" who is being funded by the democrats.
      Reply to this
    3. August 14, 2012 Leigh wrote:
      Maybe incompetence, but I doubt it. This will have the affect of discouraging Republicans in Republican-dominated counties in Florida from using absentee ballots. That means many will end up not voting at all, and with fewer Republicans voting early through absentee ballots, it will distort the perception of how the vote in an important swing state is going to go, making it look like Obama is doing better than he really is. This could energize Democrats and demoralize Republicans.

      Also I have a family member who works for the USPS, and her co-workers are, shall we say, "energetic" in their hatred of Republicans. So, if I had to guess, I'd say it was deliberate.
      Reply to this
  • August 14, 2012 Mkelley wrote:
    USPS: When it absolutely, positively has to get there eventually.
    Reply to this
  • August 15, 2012 CarolCumbie wrote:
    I guess that is another reason the Post office needs to be closed.
    Reply to this
  • August 15, 2012 Lorenz Gude wrote:
    I was surprised to read that these two Florida counties didn't include a FAX option. I got my absentee primary ballot in timely fashion here in Western Australia from Pam Beach County. I forgot to fill it out until about a week before election day and so used the Fax option that the instructions offered. The ballot was too big for the throat of a regular fax machine (this is the gummint after all) but I was able to fit it onto my flat bed scanner in two parts and then fax it to West Palm Beach using a free internet based fax service. To my surprise I got an email acknowledging it as accepted from Palm Beach County.
    Reply to this
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