Supervisor of elections: vote-by-mail voters must adhere to deadlines


The Aug. 30 Primary Election is in the books. We now look forward to the Nov. 8 General Election.

Most all of you are aware that one local race, County Commission District 3, was a close race decided by seven votes. What you may not know (vote-by-mail voters, please pay close attention): The day following the election, 74 vote-by-mail ballots came in the mail and could not be counted because they were late. Forty-one of them were Republican ballots. These late ballots were mailed on Monday or Tuesday. The law is very specific: In order to be counted, a vote-by-mail ballot must be in the Elections Office by 7 p.m. on election day. Ballots received after 7 p.m. are late and will not be counted.

I have repeatedly said: First class mail takes three to five business days. Do not mail your ballots later than the Thursday prior to an election; they will not reach us in time to be counted. We have red drop boxes convenient to all areas in the county where ballots can be dropped off. Remember, you can always vote in person during early voting or at the polls on election day. Would these vote-by-mail ballots have made a difference in this race? We will never know; by law, these ballots can never be opened.

What we can learn from this as we now look ahead toward the Nov. 8 General Election is if you vote by mail, please return your ballot it in time to be counted. That deadline is Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. Vote-by-mail ballots are scheduled to go in the mail on Oct. 4.

Great news I want to share: For the General Election, we are adding an additional early voting site for your convenience in the north part of the county. The new location is the Watson Realty Building Community Room located at 175 Hampton Point Dr., St. Augustine (on SR 210 just west of I-95).

Early voting will be conducted for 13 days from Oct. 24 through Nov. 5, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at seven locations through the county. There will be ample time for all voters to cast a ballot in the upcoming election. Make sure you are registered. The deadline is approaching: Oct. 11 is the last day you can register to vote for the General Election.

If you have questions or need assistance, please visit My staff and I stand ready to assist you.

Vicky Oakes

Supervisor of Elections

St. Johns County