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When Presidential Candidates Drop Out, Florida Early Voters Are Out Of Luck

A voter filling in a ballot.
Wikipedia Commons
Early voters in Florida's primary election are out of luck if they voted for a candiate who dropped out.

After a Super Tuesday that saw Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden pull away from the rest of the pack in the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination, yet another candidate - former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg - dropped out.

But Floridians who voted early are also paying the price.

Florida, like much of the U.S. allows for absentee or mail-in voting, as well as early voting.

But those who get an early jump might now regret their decision because ballots for candidates who drop out of the race before Florida’s primary March 17 are not allowed to be changed.

“If someone did a vote by mail ballot, and they've already turned it in to our office, then that, by state law, is considered cast when it hits my office,” said Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer. “It will be counted for that candidate, but they've dropped out. There are no do-overs by statute.”

Supervisor of Elections for Pasco County, Brian Corley, said although it may not seem like it, that vote still counts.

“All totals will be ultimately forwarded back to the national parties and so, if you voted for someone who has suspended their campaign, it’s still going to be tabulated, that vote will still count, it will still go to the (Democratic National) Convention,” said Corley.

Anyone still interested in requesting a mail-in ballot has to do so by Saturday.

After that, anyone who wants to vote before Election Day must do so in person or pick up a ballot at their local Supervisor of Elections Office.

Tristan Dodd is a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news intern for spring 2020. He is currently a senior at USF, where he is completing his bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Production.
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