Mail ballots are convenient but lack certain perks that voting in person gives voters. Namely, mail-in ballots are ten times more likely to be thrown out by county Supervisors of Elections than in-person ballots, according to a report issued last month by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.
And then, mail-in voters don’t get to proudly sport the “I Voted” stickers around town.
Electionland, a collaboration between ProPublica and local news organizations including WLRN, has shined light on another potential downside: confusion.
The Electionland project aims to cover the act of actually voting. Not the politics -- the who said what rat race stuff -- but how people experience the act of voting itself.
Through its central database, Electionland has received reports from Florida voters who have already mailed out their ballots that have recently received flyers that say that they have “not yet returned” them. This includes voters from Broward, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Orange, Volusia, Duval, Brevard, St. Lucie, Marion, Pasco, Alachua, Seminole and Brevard Counties.
The Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections office confirmed to WLRN and ProPublica that it has received calls about the mailers, though the specific number of calls was not immediately accessible. WLRN sent a copy of the flier to Miami-Dade County, which had not yet seen the mailer.
If you have requested and sent a mail-in ballot, you can go to the Secretary of State’s Voter Information Look-Up Tool website to check if it has been received. The tool will tell voters about the status of their mail-in-ballot.
Voters in Miami-Dade County also have the option of calling the Elections Supervisor's customer service number at 305-499-8444 to get confirmation that their ballot has been received.
To be clear, the mailers reported are not coming from local Supervisor of Elections offices, nor from the Florida Secretary of State, which oversees elections. According to the address listed on the fliers, they are being mailed out by a group called For Our Future Action Fund, and lists a Fort Lauderdale address. The group, which lists progressive organizations like MoveOn and MiFamiliaVota as its partners, is based in Washington D.C. and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Under Florida law (see Section 101.62(3) Fla. Stat.) entities like political parties and committees are able to receive information about who has requested, returned or not yet returned a vote-by-mail ballot,” Sarah Revell, the director of communications at the Florida Secretary of State’s office wrote WLRN in an email. “Therefore, with this information, a party or [PAC] could conduct outreach to voters who had not yet returned ballots.”
Check below for how you can contact Electionland with any comments regarding the election process in Florida:
- SMS: Send the word VOTE, VOTA (for Spanish) or 投票 (for Chinese) to 81380 (standard text message rates apply).
- WhatsApp: Send the word VOTE, VOTA (for Spanish) or 投票 (for Chinese) to 1-850-909-8683.
- Facebook Messenger: Go to m.me/electionland