Elections workers in Hillsborough Co. mailed out more than 170,000 vote-by-mail ballots on Tuesday, a record number so far for the area.
This comes more than a month before Nov. 7 election day, and Hillsborough Co. Elections Supervisor Craig Latimer expects many more requests. .
“As the requests come in we'll continue to send out the ballots,” he said.
Once ballots are submitted, elections workers compare the signatures on each ballot with the signatures they have on file from that voter’s registration.
If the signatures don’t match, the ballot won’t be counted.
That process raised controversy this week after the Florida Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit against Ken Detzner, the Florida Secretary of State.
The lawsuit claims that “vote-by-mail in Florida is on the rise,” citing that in 2012 23,000 vote-by-mail ballots were rejected because signatures on the ballots didn’t match up with the signature on file.
Right now voters who submit a ballot without a signature are allowed to re-cast their vote.
In the lawsuit, the groups ask that vote-by-mail voters be allowed the same opportunity to fix a signature error.
Latimer says he hasn’t noticed many rejected ballots in his time at the office.
“I can tell you that in 2012, for instance, we had 172 thousand vote-by-mail ballots that came back,” he said, “and we had about 80 signatures that didn't match.”
He says he always encourages voters to update their signatures by filling out a new registration form with their current signature to have on file.
Voters can also head to their elections center to verify the signature they have on file.