Was your mail in ballot counted in Pinellas County?

Voters confused over "tabulated" ballot status

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Right now, election supervisors across Florida are getting ready for a recount. In Pinellas County on Friday, the election canvassing board accepted 171 additional provisional ballots and rejected 167 ballots based on voters not being registered or voting at the wrong precinct, among other issues. 

Yet, many of you came to us at ABC Action News with concerns about your mail-in ballots, particularly in Pinellas County, wondering if your vote was tallied. 

Like many people across Florida, Patty Perkey likes the convenience and flexibility of voting by mail.

"We turned our ballots in at the end of October,” Perkey explained.

From there, she checked and double checked to see if her vote was counted on Pinellas County’s website. 

“I want to make sure my vote is counted,” she added.

It wasn’t until  Friday morning, 3 days after the election, that the county’s website marked her ballot as “tabulated.”

“That’s what made me very nervous. The election is so close and I know every vote counts,” she said with a sigh.

We went looking for answers to find out: What happens when you mail in your ballot?

The Supervisor of Elections Office says once the ballot is picked up by your mail carrier. First, it’s sorted, then election workers verify your signature and finally they place the ballot in a high-speed scanner before it is stamped for final approval. 

“You know something we saw this year is there really was a different attitude. Voters really felt that their vote mattered,” explained Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark.

So, she says this year the county’s software vendor did something new. Instead of waiting until the entire election was certified to mark your ballot as tabulated online, they switched them one by one.

Yet, it led to a lot of confusion. However, the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office ensures everyone all the eligible votes were calculated.

Moving forward in future elections, if you choose to mail in your ballot you’ll be able to check if it was counted online the day after the election.

"That will be a great improvement for our voters who have shown us they really care about seeing the status of their ballots," explained Clark. 

Pinellas County election leaders are prepared to start a recount this Sunday at 9 a.m. if mandated by the state. 

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