The Phoenix Flyer

With Nicole approaching, voting groups want state to extend time to ‘cure’ ballots

By: - November 9, 2022 1:34 pm

Election workers counting vote-by-mail ballots at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office in Largo on Oct. 25, 2022. (Credit: Mitch Perry)

The deadline for Florida voters who need to “cure” their vote-by-mail is Thursday at 5 p.m., but a coalition of voting rights groups want Gov. Ron DeSantis and Secretary of State Cord Byrd to extend that deadline with Tropical Storm Nicole heading to Florida later tonight.

More than 16,000 Florida voters have had their vote-by-mail or provisional ballots flagged by local supervisors of elections because of problems with their signatures, Amy Keith with Common Cause Florida said on a Zoom call Wednesday morning.

“That’s generally due to a missing signature on the ballot envelope or to a mismatched signature that doesn’t match the signature on file,” she says.

The coalition is requesting that the deadline be extended until at least next Monday, Nov. 14.

Nicole was forecast to make landfall Wednesday night as a Category 1 hurricane in the Palm Beach County region, according to the Weather Channel. Depending on its path, it may cause damage to communities already affected by Hurricane Ian, which made landfall in southwest Florida on Sept. 28.

“In any event, the storm system will erect substantial barriers to voters’ ability to timely submit cure documentation by making travel to county election centers difficult or dangerous, or inhibiting Internet access necessary to submit cure forms online,” states the letter.

“For voters whose mail ballots arrive at their supervisor’s office days before the election or on election day, curing by mail is not an option and many who live in the most vulnerable communities do not have internet access altogether or may be without power due to the storm. For those voters, curing in-person is the only option. The incoming storm could make this extremely difficult or impossible.”

Keith said that state officials have yet to respond to their letter, which was sent on Tuesday.

Florida is one of 20 states that require election officials to notify voters over a missing signature or signature discrepancy and give the voter an opportunity to correct it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Among the groups reaching out to DeSantis and Byrd are All Voting is Local Florida, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the ACLU of Florida, the Anti-Defamation League, Common Cause Florida and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.