Group wants vote-by-mail recount in Miami-Dade County

DORAL, Fla. – A group turned out at the Miami-Dade Election Headquarters to demand that thousands of uncounted ballots be counted from last Tuesday’s primary races. The problem is, however, votes were certified Friday by the state.

But, ballots by mail, they said, are still landing at election headquarters days after the primary is done and over.

The civil rights groups and some losing candidates that showed up Wednesday said they were being disenfranchised.

“We cannot let COVID hurt our election process,” said Rhonda Rebman Lopez, a candidate, who was one of those who was making a plea outside of election headquarters.

Those uncounted ballots could well swing results in close elections throughout the county.

Jessica Laguerre Hylton, also a Miami-Dade candidate, said: "We are asking that the votes not be certified for Miami-Dade County."

The group wants a rule change. Instead of a 7 p.m. election day deadline for ballots to land at headquarters, they want the confirmation to go by postmark, citing the national postal slowdown issues and local allegations.

“There were ballots that were sitting in the back of a postal truck and simply for that reason, they were not counted,” Laguerre Hylton said.

The elections department — that must count ballots as outlined by Florida statute — cited hard numbers. Of more than 3,700 uncounted ballots, the vast majority had no signature, 274 signatures didn’t match, a few dozen of the ballots were from voters who had moved away or had died.

Elections staff notified voters with signature issues that they had two more days to fix the issue. If they didn’t, those votes didn’t count.

“Unfortunately, those voters did not react by the deadline to cure their ballot and therefore the canvassing board does not have another option other than to reject them,” Christina White, Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections said.

The best way to make sure your vote is counted if you are sending vote by mail is to get it in as soon as possible. Absentee ballots are mailed out 33 days before the election, so the quicker it gets out, it will make the deadline.

BE ELECTION READY: Check out Local10.com’s 2020 Voter Guide.

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