Vote-by-mail concerns raise due to COVID-19

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCJB) -- Uncertainty over the health risks of voting in August and November have three citizens suing to make sure every registered voter gets a mail-in ballot and state pays the return postage. Many elections supervisors are already reaching out to voters and asking if they want a mail-in ballot.

The lawsuit was filed by a retired sheriff's deputy and two others who work helping senior citizens.

It says requiring voters to request a mail ballot rather than just sending one, and requiring them to pay the postage is asking too much.

“Many people don’t have computers”

Harvey Sepler is their attorney.

“They don’t want to leave their homes because of the virus because they don’t want to expose themselves. That means they don’t want to leave to request a mail in ballot.” Sepler said.

The lawsuit comes as a poll by a group calling itself Secure Democracy found overwhelming national support for everyone getting a mail ballot.

But the same poll found 93 percent want polling places to be open as well.

Supervisors have already asked the Governor for the authority to consolidate polling places.

“We’re not going to be letting thirty forty people into polling site at the same time.” Craig Latimer the Hillsborough County Elections Supervisor said.

Most voters are already getting cards like this one..asking if they want a mail ballot.

In 2018, a third of third of the ballots were cast by mail, but in the Presidential Preference Primary that jumped to over 50 percent in some counties.

And so far, the state hasn’t responded to two requests from supervisors.

They want more days of early voting and longer times to mail and process ballots.

“And I’m going to go back and check and make sure I had the right address because we haven’t heard anything,” Latimer said.

And remember this: you can request a mail ballot, and as long as you don’t return it, you can still vote in person on election day or early voting, or you can turn the ballot in person until the polls close.