Apparently, “Of the 627,484 Miami-Dade voters who had absentee or vote-by-mail ballots mailed to them as of Wednesday, a little more than 142,000 have mailed them back. That means that more than three times as many — a total of almost half a million — are still sitting somewhere on kitchen counters, home desks, nightstands and dining room tables from Homestead to Hialeah.”
Speaking as one of those voters, I can tell you what I’m thinking: I’m planning to drop off my ballot in a secure, official, not-California-style dropbox early next week.
Why next week and not now? Because early voting doesn’t start until Monday, and the dropboxes are only available at early voting sites (or way downtown at the Board of Elections).
Incidentally, there are some moderately strict rules about how a vote-by-mail ballot may be returned:
Vote-by-Mail ballots must be returned as follows:
- IN PERSON – A voter who received a vote-by-mail ballot by mail may return his or her own ballot to the Miami-Dade Elections Department at 2700 NW 87th Avenue, Miami, FL 33172 or to the Elections Department’s Branch Office (located in the lobby of the Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW 1st Street, Miami, FL 33128) no later than 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.
ON THE MONDAY BEFORE ELECTION DAY AND ELECTION DAY (During countywide elections only): Two additional locations are available for a voter to return their vote-by-mail ballot: North Dade Regional Library at 2455 NW 183rd Street, Miami Gardens, FL 33056 or South Dade Regional Library at 10750 SW 211th Street, Cutler Bay, FL 33189 from 7am to 7pm.
- BY MAIL – A vote-by-mail ballot may be returned by delivery through the United States Postal Service.
- BY VOTER’S DESIGNEE – (Limited to two ballots per election, only one of which may be from a voter who is not the spouse, parent, child, grandparent or sibling of the designee). A vote-by-mail ballot may be returned by the voter’s designee at 2700 NW 87th Avenue, Miami, FL 33172 or to the Elections Department’s Branch Office (located in the lobby of the Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW 1st Street, Miami, FL 33128), on the day prior to and the day of the election if the person designated by the voter is an immediate family member and only on the day of the election if the designee is not an immediate family member. Picture identification of the designee must be presented along with a written statement from the voter containing the following information:
- Printed name of voter
- Voter’s daytime phone number
- Voter’s date of birth
- d. Voter’s registration number (optional)
- Name of person returning the vote-by-mail ballot
- If the voter is a member of the designee’s immediate family, reason why the voter must have someone else return the vote-by-mail ballot
- If the voter is not a member of the designee’s immediate family, the designee must also present a statement signed by a physician on that physician’s stationery that, due to a medical emergency involving the voter or voter’s dependent, the named voter is unable to vote at the polls and is unable to return a vote-by-mail ballot in person
- Signature of voter
- AT EARLY VOTING – A voter who has received a vote-by-mail ballot may return their voted vote-by-mail ballot to any early voting location by placing it in a secure drop box.
- AT THE POLLS – A voter who desires to vote in person may return a voted or unvoted vote-by-mail ballot to the voter’s precinct. The returned ballot will be marked “canceled” by the election board. A voter who desires to vote in person, but does not return the ballot to the precinct, may vote only under the following conditions: (Do not return anyone else’s ballot at the polls. Under State Law, this ballot will not be counted.)
- The election board confirms the voter’s vote-by-mail ballot has not been received and
- If the election board cannot determine whether the voter’s vote-by-mail ballot has been received, the voter may vote a provisional ballot.
To track the status of your vote-by-mail ballot, go to https://www8.miamidade.gov/elections/votebymail-status.