Friday, October 30, 2020

FL Voters of Color and Young Voters have Ballots Flagged at Higher Rates

As Floridians rush to Vote in the Presidential Election, Mail-in-Ballots from Black, Hispanic, and Younger Voters are being Flagged for Problems at a Higher Rate than they are for Other Voters, potentially Jjeopardizing their Participation in the Race for the Country’s Largest Battleground State.

As of Thursday Oct. 28th, Election Officials had set aside Twice as many Ballots from Black and Hispanic Voters as those from White Voters, according to an Analysis by University of Florida Political Science Professor, Daniel Smith. For People Younger than 24, the Rate was more than Four times what it was for those 65 and Older.

While the Number of Deficient Mail Ballots in Florida was relatively Low one week before the Election, at roughly 15,000 out of more than 4.3 Million Cast, that Figure could Rise as roughly 1.6 Million Floridians still have Outstanding Mail Ballots.

“The margins in Florida could definitely come down to the vote-by-mail ballots,” Smith said. “It’s obviously an area where there will be litigation if there is a close election.”

In Florida, the most commonly Flagged Problem with Mail Ballots has been a Missing Voter Signature on the Back of the Ballot Envelope, Smith said.

The Total Rate of Pending Eejections was 0.35%, a Rate he Predicted will Rise to the 2016 Election-year Level of about 1% after Late-Arriving Ballots are factored in.

Deficient Ballots were slightly More likely to come from Democratic Mail Voters, at 0.33%, than Republican Voters, at 0.29%, and both were Lower than Unaffiliated Voters, whose Ballots were Flagged at a Rate of 0.47%.

Experience also matters in whether a Voter’s Ballot gets Tossed, the Data shows. Floridians who did Not Vote-by-Mail in 2016 but did so this year had a Rejection Rate Three Times that of Other Voters, Smith found.

Election Officials are Required to Notify Voters “as soon as practicable” that their Ballots are Deficient and Send Affidavits to Correct them. A Florida Election Law Retooled last year gives Voters Extra time to Fix their Ballots, allowing them to Return: Affidavits by Mail; by Email; by Fax; or In-Person by 5 p.m. on the Second Day after the Election.

In Miami-Dade County, where about 2,600 Ballots have been Flagged, 52-year-old Democratic Volunteer, Andrea Askowitz, recently spent Two Days Driving around and Knocking on the Doors of Voters whose Ballots have been Flagged for Rejection. Askowitz said Assisting even a Small Number of Democratic Voters felt more Worthwhile than her Previous Efforts handing out Democratic Slate Cards at an Early-Voting Site and Holding a Biden Sign on a street corner. “I think helping people with their absentee ballots is the one thing I can do that’s meaningful,” she said. “It’s grueling, but I know those are three Biden votes for sure.”

Mismatched Signatures on Mail Ballots were Central to Legal Disputes in Florida after the 2018 Election, with Multiple Courts agreeing that State Rules for Validating and Curing Ballots were Not Fair or Enforced Consistently. In a 2019 Retuning of State Election Law, Legislators Required the Secretary of State to Offer Signature-Match Training to Election Supervisors and other Members of Local Canvassing Boards.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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