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Do you know if your mail-in vote counted?

By LIZ HARDAWAY

STAFF WRITER

There’s still time.

Voters have until 5 p.m. today to “cure” a mismatched signature on their ballot with the supervisor of elections offices in Charlotte and Sarasota counties.

There won’t be a courtesy call, though.

It’s up to you to check if your vote counted, or if it needs to be fixed. Both counties offer a website and phone number voters can call to find out.

By Friday afternoon, a couple hundred voters in Sarasota County, and a dozen in Charlotte County, had fixed their mismatched signatures to keep their votes. “Vote-by-mail voters, in this election, were not notified of a signature mismatch problem until it was too late to cure,” wrote Chief United States District Judge Mark Walker in his injunction order last week to extend the curing period. “Potentially thousands of voters have been deprived of the right to cast a legal vote.”

“The cure period was intended to solve the inherent problems in signature matching, but the opportunity to cure has proven illusory,” Walker wrote.

Coming Sunday — Are poll workers signature experts?

“Without procedural safeguards, the use of signature matching is not reasonable and may lead to unconstitutional disenfranchisement.”

After being notified of a rejected vote, the voter usually has until 5 p.m. the day before the election to cure their vote due to mismatched or omitted signatures with a DS-DE 139 form.

Walker ordered the extension on Wednesday.

The Supervisor of Elections main offices for Sarasota and Charlotte counties will be staffed today until 5 p.m. to accept these forms.

“The injunction is in the public interest...it is NOT ordering county canvassing boards to count every mismatched vote, sight unseen. Rather, the county supervisors of elections are directed to allow those voters who should have had an opportunity to cure their ballots in the first place to cure their vote-by-mail and provisional ballots now, before the second official results are fully counted,” Walker wrote.

In Charlotte County, there were 28 Vote By Mail ballots with mismatched signatures, and 12 were cured by Friday afternoon, said Charlotte County Supervisor of Elections Paul Stamoulis.

Sarasota County had 200 cures so far by Friday afternoon, according to the Sarasota Supervisor of Elections communications and voter outreach manager, Rachel Denton.

Email: lhardaway@sun-herald.com

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