Lee County supervisor of elections urges voters follow directions for ballot submission

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

Millions of people in Florida are rushing to ensure their ballots are filled out, but some votes won’t count. It’s all because of a mistake many voters are making while filling out their ballot. We looked at what voters need to do to ensure their vote counts.

Instructions to make sure your vote counts are at the top of your ballot. Tommy Doyle, Lee County’s Supervisor of Elections, says thousands of voters failed to follow the directions.

One of the most common mistakes: People are filling in the bubble for a candidate and then writing their name on the line provided for a write-in choice.

“This person bubbled in Trump, bubbled in write-in, wrote in Trump and did the same thing for the commission race,” Doyle said.

That ballot can’t be counted. For those who vote in person, the voting machine will show the voter a message that says, “In the contest for these, you have voted twice.”

The poll worker can then give the voter a new ballot to fill in correctly. But, if a voter doesn’t notice the message on the voting machine, the elections office must intervene.

“If he walks away, we cast it for him,” Doyle said. “And those races will never be counted.”

That means the vote in that specific race is no good. Doyle says his office doesn’t know how many times this has possibly happened already during early voting.

Doyle told us poll workers try their hardest to make sure every vote counts. Staffers at the polls will try and catch voters if you make a mistake, and the elections office is spending countless hours duplicating the ballots that it can.

If there is clear intent on a ballot that is not submitted correctly, the vote can still be made to count by the elections office. But if someone, for example, bubbles in two different candidates for the same race, the canvassing board will disqualify the vote, and it won’t count.

“I’ve seen every bubble bubbled in,” Doyle said.

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