Guest Column: Every vote counts (but it has to be received in time)


Vicky Oakes
Supervisor of Elections

St Johns County, FL

Special to Historic City News

Most all of you are aware that one local race, County Commission District 3, was a close race; decided by only 7 votes. What you may not know is that the day following the election, 74 vote-by-mail ballots came in the mail and could not be counted because they were late.

I have frequently publicized that first class mail now takes 3-5 business days to be delivered locally. Do not mail your ballots past Thursday prior to an election as they will not reach us in time to be counted.

The 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 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots received after 7:00 p.m. are late, and will not be counted.

Of the 74 vote-by-mail ballots, 41 were Republican. Would these vote-by-mail ballots have made a difference in this race? By law, these ballots can never be opened, so, we will never know.

  • Can you vote in the Presidential General Election? Make sure you are registered, the deadline is approaching. October 11th is the last day you can register to vote in the General Election.

  • There will be ample time for all voters to cast a ballot in the upcoming election. General Election vote-by-mail ballots are scheduled to be mailed on October 4th. The deadline for me to receive them is November 8th @ 7:00 p.m.

  • Early voting will be conducted for 13 days: October 24th through November 5th from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. daily at 7 locations throughout the county.

  • 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, Tuesday November 8, 2016.

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

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