VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Almost 1,300 mail-in ballots did not make it to Volusia County by Election Day last month — more than double that of the 2018 and 2016 primaries — despite being postmarked in time, according to elections officials.
What You Need To Know
- Elections Supervisor: 1,281 ballots arrived late
- Most ballots postmarked August 17 and 18 in Orlando
- RELATED: Voting by Mail in Florida: Frequently Asked Questions
Volusia County Elections Supervisor Lisa Lewis said Monday that 1,281 ballots arrived after August 18, even though the majority were postmarked on August 17 and August 18 in Orlando.
“When 1,281 show up on Wednesday, the day after the election, it was very, very upsetting that these people’s votes are not counted,” Lewis said.
She said the three trays full of ballots will not be counted but will simply be archived.
No matter where they are mailed, Lewis said the ballots go through U.S. Postal Service plants in Orlando and Lake Mary for distribution. She said she sends people out for last minute pickups on Election Day if there are any ballots still there.
“I called four different times myself down to Orlando," Lewis said. "Each time, a gentleman answered, and there were no ballots. They looked; they had been looking for them, he said. So each time throughout the day I called there were no ballots.”
Then she said on Friday, the Postal Service told her on a conference call that the ballots were mixed in with regular mail.
“If they tell us there are even just two down there, I am going to make a try to get every vote I can in here, but I have to know they are there," Lewis said.
Spectrum News 13 reached out to David Walton, who is part of the corporate commiunications team for the United States Postal Service. He shared the following statement:
"Regarding the Florida election, we are aware that some ballots in Volusia County were delivered after Election Day. We researched the situation and found the mailpieces were handled according to our First-Class Mail delivery standard but that still resulted in the ballots missing the deadline. 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, despite our special efforts," said David Walton, a member of the U.S. Postal Service's communications team, in a stattement sent to Spectrum News 13.
"We are taking actions to reduce the risk of this occurring again, including identifying ballots for greater visibility in our system and reminding domestic voters to mail their completed ballots at least one week before Election Day. We continue to work with Volusia County, the Secretary of State and all Florida Boards of Election and look forward to a successful general election," the statement continued.
Lewis said she wants to ensure this won't happen again.
"I worry for voters. There is such a distrust in elections anyway that this does not help," she said.
Those ballots, sitting unopened, could have impacted the Daytona Beach mayor's race.
“We had a recount in the Daytona Beach mayor’s race -- 147 of these pertained to that race so it could have had an effect on that race,” Lewis said.
Those ballots will now only be archived and stored. For those concerned that their vote could go unheard, Lewis recommends mailing in ballots as early as possible or dropping them off in person.
“If you’d rather drop it off in person, please do so,” said Lewis.
Mail-in ballots will start going out September 24. If you want to drop off your vote in person, all early voting sites will have two secure drop boxes. You can also drop them off at the Volusia Supervisor of Elections office in DeLand.