By Patrick Murphy
After it became clear that several races were too close to call on Tuesday, I decided to check my absentee ballot status on the Palm Beach County elections website – only to find that my ballot had been rejected because of an “invalid signature” mismatch. I’ve been a registered voter for over 15 years, and an active Palm Beach County voter for six, and yet that wasn’t enough to get my ballot added to the official tally.
Voters who get notice in time can sign and return an affidavit that has to be received by 5 p.m. the day before the election. But my vote wasn’t actually logged until Election Day, according to the Palm Beach elections website. There is no remedy to my situation after the fact, so unless that’s changed by the county canvassing board or a legal challenge filed by Sen. Bill Nelson, the judgment call made by an unelected county employee to reject my vote will stand.
I wonder, how many others across the state has this “mismatch” scenario affected without their knowledge? Would the single parent working two jobs or the snowbird heading out of town to see family for the holidays see this notice in time to make the correction? For races being decided in the hundreds of votes out of more than 8 million cast, the decision to summarily reject a validly cast ballot is unfathomable.
We must work to reform this system — now.
Just this week we made great strides in expanding the right to vote in another important way. Nearly 65% of Floridians chose to extend the franchise to ex-felons who have paid their debt to society. It is refreshing that after President Donald Trump tried to suppress the vote with a nonsensical voter fraud commission, Florida voters from across the political spectrum chose to veer in the opposite direction and encourage more people to participate in the political process.
Read the rest over here.