A study of Florida’s past two presidential elections finds that mail ballots were 10 times more likely to be rejected than votes cast at early voting sites or on election day. The study also found that mail ballots cast by youngest voters, blacks and Hispanics were much more likely to be rejected than mail ballots cast by white voters, and that those voters are less likely to cure problems with their ballots when notified by election supervisors than other voters. The study also shows that rejection rates vary widely across the state. The report was produced by Daniel Smith, chairman of the political science department at the University of Florida, on behalf of the ACLU of Florida, whose director, Howard Simon, cited the state’s “uncertain history in election administration” in a conference call with reporters.
About 1 percent of all mail ballots cast are rejected and not counted. Smith said that rate is about 10 times higher than for voters voting in person either early or on election day. “This rate is substantial. We’re talking about tens of thousands of people,” Smith said.
The statewide totals were nearly 24,000 ballots in 2012 and nearly 28,000 two years ago.
The main reasons why mail ballots are rejected are that a voter didn’t sign the ballot envelope or that the voter’s signature on the envelope did not match the voter’s signature on file with the county elections office.