Put a Stamp on Voting06/09/2020
The 2020 election cycle is off to a most unusual start as we deal with the effects of COVID-19. With the March Presidential Preference Primary behind us, preparations are well underway for the August Primary and November General elections. “We are preparing and voters should too,” David H. Stafford, Escambia County Supervisor of Elections, said. “We are faced with some very unique challenges with social distancing, personal protective equipment, and disinfecting polling places.” This is a perfect opportunity for voters to consider voting by mail.
Voting by mail, formerly known as absentee voting, is a convenient and secure way to vote without having to go to your precinct or an early voting location. As a senior member of our community, if you’re concerned about voting in person in the August and November elections, you can simply request a mail ballot and we’ll send one to you. Because of the unprecedented nature of this election cycle, return postage for mail ballots will be paid in the upcoming primary and general elections.
If you’ve never voted by mail, here’s how it works:
- Voter requests a ballot online, by phone or in writing. Voters can track the status of their ballot from request through counting at EscambiaVotes.com.
- Supervisor of Elections mails ballots approximately five weeks before the election.
- Voter receives the ballot, along with instructions, a secrecy sleeve, and a return envelope with paid postage. Voter marks the ballot, places it in the secrecy sleeve, and then seals it inside the return envelope.
- Voter signs and dates the outside of the return envelope inside the red box and returns the ballot by mail or hand delivery by 7 pm on Election Day to the Supervisor of Elections office or early voting site.
- Supervisor of Elections receives the ballot envelope and verifies the voter signature. If there is a missing or mismatched signature, the voter is notified and offered an opportunity to cure the deficiency up to two days after the Election Day.
- Ballots are opened and counted under the guidance of the County Canvassing Board (a county judge, county commissioner, and the supervisor of elections) in a public meeting. Initial results are released within 30 minutes after the polls close on Election Day.
- A public manual audit is performed after each election. A contest and several precincts are randomly selected, and ballots are hand counted and compared against the reported results.
Some of the advantages of voting by mail include:
- Voting from the convenience of your home and avoiding lines on Election Day.
- Receiving your ballot more than 30 days before the election to have time to review the candidates and issues.
- Request a new ballot if you make a mistake on the first one.
- Vote-by-mail results are the first results released after the polls close at 7 pm on Election Day.
Dates to remember for the August Primary:
- July 4 is the deadline to mail ballots to military and civilians stationed overseas.
- July 9 begin mailing civilian ballots.
- July 20 is the last day to register to vote or change your political party.
- Aug. 8 through Aug. 15 is the mandatory Early Voting period (other dates may be added) at multiple locations in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
- Aug. 8 is the last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot be mailed to you.
The local Elections Offices can answer questions to make sure every voter is prepared for the upcoming elections.
Escambia County: 850-595-3900 or visit www.escambiavotes.com
Santa Rosa County: 850-983-1900 or visit www.votesantarosa.com
If you want to request a ballot, it’s fast and easy. Here’s a few ways to do it:
- Complete the online form at EscambiaVotes.com/vote-by-mail
- Call us at (850) 595-3900
- Send a signed, written request to: Supervisor of Elections, P.O. Box 12601, Pensacola, FL 32591
SANTA ROSA COUNTY:
- Complete the online form at www.votesantarosa.com/Voter-Information/Vote-by-Mail
- Call us at (850) 983-1900
- Send a signed, written request to: Supervisor of Elections, 6495 Caroline St, Ste F, Milton, FL 32570
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