Update, November 5: This post has been updated to include the latest tally of problem ballots in Miami-Dade County.
As of today — Thursday, November 5 — the Miami-Dade County Elections Department reports there are 2,199 vote-by-mail ballots with signature issues or other problems. Of those, 131 ballots were received late, so they will not be counted.
That brings the total of ballots that need "curing" to 2,068. The deadline to submit a cure affidavit and a copy of your ID is 5 p.m. today, November 5. Without submitting a cure affidavit, your ballot will not be counted.
Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade's deputy supervisor of elections, says the elections department has called, emailed, texted, and sent letters to voters in the county whose ballots need to be cured, which is another way of saying fixed or certified. She recommends that voters email their cure affidavits, with proper ID, to VBMaffidavits@miamidade.gov or submit them in person at the election department's main office, 2700 NW 87th Ave., or at the branch office lobby, 111 NW First St.
Continue reading for instructions on how to cure your mail-in ballot.
By November 2, nearly half a million Miami-Dade voters had cast their votes by mail, some for the first time because of health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most mail-in ballots have been accepted and counted without a hitch, but the Miami-Dade Elections Department has so far flagged some ballots for missing signatures, mismatched signatures, or other issues.
Those ballots are slated for rejection unless voters "cure" them by signing and submitting an affidavit to the Supervisor of Elections' office by 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 5. Mail-in ballots marked for rejection will not be counted unless they are cured. Florida statutes require that election supervisors notify voters that their mail-in ballots are missing a signature or bear a signature that doesn't match the registration records.
"The Miami-Dade Elections Department mails a letter as soon as the ballot issue is discovered," Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade's deputy supervisor of elections, explains to New Times via email. "This allows the voter as much time as practicable to correct their issue. Additionally, we will contact the voter by phone, text, email, etc. if we have their information on file."
To cure a ballot, a voter must print out a Vote-by-Mail Ballot Cure Affidavit, fill it out, sign it, and email or fax the document to the Miami-Dade Elections Department together with a copy of their ID. The affidavit form is available in English, Spanish, and Creole.
Voters can scan the filled out cure affidavit and their identification and email both to VBMaffidavits@miamidade.gov. Voters who don't have a printer and scanner at home can pick up a form at the elections department's main office, 2700 NW 87th Ave., or at the branch office lobby, 111 NW First St.
The Miami-Dade Democratic Party and the Coalition for Black and Brown Ballot Access, among other organizations, are reaching out to voters whose ballots could be rejected for signature issues. Political scientists say Black and Hispanic voters in Florida are more likely to have their ballots rejected. Late last month, the Miami Herald reported that in Miami-Dade, 1.2 percent of Black voters and 0.86 percent of Hispanic voters had their ballots flagged for problems related to missing or mismatched signatures, compared to 0.48 percent of white voters.
Steve Simeonidis, chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, says that as of yesterday, the party had more than 3,500 ballots referred to it for curing. Of those, 2,545 have been cured and 972 remain in the reject pile. Simeonidis recommends that voters who cast ballots by mail check the status of their ballots online.
"If your ballot doesn't show as counted by [today], I'd recommend going to the polls," Simeonidis advises.
Simeonidis says voters whose ballots don't show as counted should explain the situation to a poll worker, who can figure out if the voter is eligible to vote provisionally or cast a ballot in person.
Phillip Jerez, campaign manager of the Coalition for Black and Brown Ballot Access, says his organization is doing digital advertising and outreach to nonwhite voters to make sure they are voting and that their ballots are counted.
"We want to focus on Black and brown voters getting their ballots rejected," Jerez says. "Lots of them are voting by mail for the first time. We're also focusing on Black and brown voters who historically don't vote and who may not have voted in one of the past four elections. We know that Florida is a state that is won or lost at the margins. Black and brown voters can very much decide the election."
Jerez says another big concern is that people might not have mailed in their ballots. According to the Florida Division of Elections, as of yesterday a total of 180,293 ballots had not been returned.
Vote-by-mail ballots can be handed over in person today by 7 p.m. at any of the following locations:
- Miami-Dade Elections Department, 2700 NW 87th Ave., Miami 33172
- North Dade Regional Library, 2455 NW 183rd St., Miami Gardens 33056
- South Dade Regional Library, 10750 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay 33189
- Stephen P. Clark Center lobby, 111 NW First St., Miami 33128
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