Floridians are running out of time to request and turn in their vote-by-mail ballots for next Tuesday’s Primary Election.
The deadline for local elections' offices to mail ballots to the public is Wednesday, Aug. 22, so they're asking voters to request their ballots by 5 p.m.
More than 1.6 million mail-in ballots have been provided to Floridians, and just over 900,000 have been returned as of Tuesday afternoon. (Check here for the latest numbers). Another 223,869 people have voted at early polling places.
Brian Corley, the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections, said early voting has held steady but it could always be better.
"It's never where I want it to be,” Corley said. “My dream is to have lines around the corner and to have so many boxes of ballots we wouldn't know what to do with them, but primaries generally have lower turnout, and it's ironic because what's on these ballots generally focuses more on local offices."
Corley said the earlier people turn in mail-in ballots, the better. It’s one less thing to worry about, and it comes with a perk for those tired of snail mail attack ads and the barrage of phone calls.
"If you're tired of the robocalls and you're tired of the fliers, my advice to you is to put it on your to-do list today,” Corley said. “Vote the ballot, get it back to us, and it'll stop the robocalls between now and Election Day - and every election going forward."
Ballots will still be available for pick-up over the counter at supervisor's offices until 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27. Voters wishing to pick up ballots on behalf of someone will need a written request from the voter designating them as the person authorized to receive the ballot. The designee will be asked to provide a photo ID and to complete an affidavit before releasing the ballot to them.
Florida Statutes does not allow for vote-by-mail ballots to be picked up in the supervisor's office on the day of the election unless an emergency keeps the voter from going to their assigned polling place. An affidavit affirming the facts of the emergency will be required. The only exception is voters residing in an assisted living facility.
All filled-out ballots must be physically in the elections' office by 7 p.m. on Aug. 28, including ballots that were mailed. Completed ballots may also be hand delivered to local Supervisor of Elections' Offices by the 7 p.m. deadline, but may not be turned in at the polls on Election Day.
Anyone who has requested a vote-by-mail ballot can track its status on the statewide Division of Elections' Check your Voter Status website or through the local supervisor of elections site.