Jacksonville, FL - The last minute changes with Florida’s election cycle is going to wind up costing you, but it’s not clear how much.
We first told you last week that a federal judge pushed back Florida’s voter registration deadline by one week because of Hurricane Matthew. The deadline is now Tuesday, October 18, by 5PM- by which point you must be registered to vote in order to cast a ballot in November.
Now, a federal judge has changed how mail-in ballots are handled as well. Until now, if the signature on your mail-in ballot didn’t match the one on file with your elections office, your ballot was thrown out. The new ruling means county elections officials must now notify you about the disparity and give you until the day before the election to fix the problem and make your vote count.
“Any time you change the rules and the policy in the middle of an election, it’s going to create some bumps along the road,” says Duval Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan.
Hogan says many employees have been working overtime, and for others he’s not granting time off.
“We’ll be through with everything on time so that everybody that’s eligible to vote gets to vote,” he says.
The changes have an even greater impact in Duval than the rest of the state, according to Hogan, because of the large population and the fact that early voting starts Monday morning, October 24.
“We know we have to do this, so the cost is going to be what the cost is,” he says.
If you’re one of the voters that waited until the deadline and you try to early vote on Monday or early in the two week process, Hogan says there is a chance you’ll have to use a provisional ballot because their records haven’t fully caught up. He says as long as you did the proper registrations, the vote will be allowed in.