I just found out that my friend Mona Reis, who owns an abortion clinic in West Palm Beach, Presidential Women's Center, has had her absentee ballot rejected by the county's canvassing board because:
"Her signature on the ballot didn’t match the one on file in the elections office"According to an article in the Palm Beach Post, this is a quite frequent occurrence, and most people won't find out about it at all. Apparently, they just toss them and make no effort to contact the voter and let them know that their ballot has been invalidated. And, there seems to be no recourse. More below Mona's orange signature.
Since Mona owns an abortion clinic and is passionate about women's and abortion rights, her vote is extremely important to her. She's considering immediate legal action.
This is a nationwide problem as the above article elaborates:
While signature problems impact a relatively small number of votes, they illustrate the perils of casting absentee ballots, said Charles Stewart III, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.So, you can see where there might be some upcoming issue again with the vote counting in Florida and other states.
In a report published last year, he estimated as many as 21 percent of absentee ballots requested nationwide never are counted. In the 2008 presidential election, 3.9 million of the 35.5 million ballots requested never reached voters. About 2.9 million that were received by voters never made it back to election offices. Another 800,000 were rejected for other reasons, such as signature problems and not being mailed in time.
UPDATE 11:50am: I just spoke with Mona and she confirmed that she hasn't heard back from a letter sent Monday to the Elections Board, and that as of now she is not allowed to vote in any manner. She affirmed that she will pursue any legal means of getting her vote counted. Apparently according to her, there is no means in Florida whereby a voter whose absentee ballot is rejected can correct the situation and vote. She added also that she's gotten many calls from friends who were planning on voting absentee, but will now tear up their absentee ballots and vote in person. (NOTE: Do not tear up your absentee ballot if you plan to vote in person. Take your absentee ballot with you to the polls so the pollworkers can see that it hasn't been used.)
UPDATE 12:45pm: Just got the following statement from Mona Reis:
Believe it or not, there is NO other process that will allow for me to vote! I cannot vote in person, I cannot take an oath that my signature is really mine - end of story! It just so happened that I knew the reporter who was observing the process and she called me to tell me. What about all the other ballots that get disqualified and people only find out about it after the elections? After the 2000 butterfly ballot fiasco here, we were all told that the best way to guarantee that your vote counts is to vote by absentee! I want to vote, damn it! We are looking at taking some legal action. I am not giving up as this is such an outrage and needs to be changed! I want to vote because this is the most important election in my lifetime. I would never forgive myself if I didn't continue to try.