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{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”&lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;PROS&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;Officials hope for a robust voter turnout, like that seen in Orange County in 1997. That year, an all-mail-in ballot vote had a larger turnout than the gubernatorial election the following year.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;Voting entirely by mail will save the county close to $80,000 in saved labor costs.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;&amp;nbsp;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;CONS&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;A 2018 study by the American Civil Liberties Union comparing vote-by-mail in the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections found that vote-by-mail ballots are likelier to be rejected than ballots cast at a precinct. The study also found that younger voters and minorities were twice as likely to have their ballots rejected, and were less likely to have the error corrected.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p style=&quot;text-align: center;&quot;&gt;Additionally, vote-by-mail has several &amp;ldquo;points of vulnerability&amp;rdquo; that give election watchdogs pause. The lack of required identification, the opportunity for coercion, and the extended chain of custody of the ballots are somewhat concerning.&lt;/p&gt;” id=”8ab0c336-f51b-462d-84c6-68abeb415ed2″ style-type=”info” title=”Pros and cons of mail-in ballots” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

In a first for Volusia County, an entirely mail-in ballot in the half-cent sales-tax referendum is set to hit all 399,703 registered voters in May.

Here is what you need to know:

{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;April 22 &amp;mdash;&lt;/strong&gt; Last day to register to vote.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;May 1 &amp;mdash;&lt;/strong&gt; County sends vote-by-mail ballots. Most voters should receive their ballots by May 4.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;May 15 &amp;mdash;&lt;/strong&gt; Last day to update your voter signature. This is also when ballots begin to be counted.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;May 21 &amp;mdash;&lt;/strong&gt; 7 p.m. deadline for the vote-by-mail ballots. The Elections Office must receive the ballots either by mail, or at one of the drop-off sites by 7 p.m.&lt;/p&gt;” id=”960ec315-da3d-4d7a-8524-5222235e4fc7″ style-type=”info” title=”DATES TO REMEMBER” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

  • The deadline to register to vote in this referendum is Monday, April 22. The deadline is 5 p.m. for in-person registration, or 11:59 p.m. for online registration at the state website. If sent by mail, the registration application must be postmarked April 22.
  • Ballots will be mailed by the Elections Office Wednesday, May 1. Voters should receive the ballots no later than Saturday, May 4.
  • Anyone who is a registered voter will receive a ballot in the mail: There is no absentee, early voting, or precinct voting in this election.
  • The ballots will include a postage-paid envelope and secrecy sleeve. The secrecy sleeve is not required to be used or returned.
  • Voters must sign their ballots with a signature that matches the signature the Elections Office has on file.
  • Election staff will compare each signature to the signature on file, as the ballots are received.
  • In the event of a mismatched or missing signature, the office will mail an affidavit to the voter, which the voter must return before the 7 p.m. May 21 deadline. If the office has a phone number or email address on file, the office will also attempt to notify the voter through those means.
  • To update your signature, send a registration application to the Elections Office. This can be done online at www.volusiaelections.org, or in person at a public library or the Elections Office. The deadline to update your voter signature is May 15.
  • Power of attorney is not accepted in the place of a voter’s mark or signature. In the case of an elderly voter who cannot write, he or she must update the signature or mark on file; a variety of “marks” are allowed. For instance, if a voter updates his or her signature to be an X, an X written on the mail-in ballot envelope will be accepted.
  • Voters can choose to drop off their ballots at their city/town halls, where a secure ballot box (the same ones used for early voting) will be. Elections officials will retrieve the ballots each day.
  • A person other than the voter can drop off the ballot (a friend, co-worker, etc.), as long as that person is not being paid to do so.
  • On Monday, May 15, election officials will test the tabulating machines that will be used to count the May 21 referendum vote. Immediately after a successful test is completed, they will begin counting the votes.
  • Any ballots received after 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, will be shredded, unopened.

USEFUL ONLINE ELECTION RESOURCES:

http://www.volusiaelections.org/

The official website of the Volusia County Department of Elections

https://www.registertovoteflorida.gov

Florida’s online voter-registration website, run by the Florida Department of State

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