South Florida Elections Supervisors Move to Increase Mail-in Voting

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South Florida elections officials are already at work trying to vastly increase the number of voters who will cast their ballots at home and not at a polling place. 

Those who live in Miami-Dade County could soon receive a brochure from elections director Christina White encouraging you to sign up to vote by mail. About half a million of these mailers will be going out, and the ultimate purpose is to make sure the vote counts even if it wasn't cast at a polling location. In Broward County, officials say they are working on the funding to send the same type of mailing.

In just over three months, voters will be making their voices heard in primary elections for a list of local and county offices. Then, the presidential election will happen in the fall.

Miami-Dade Elections Supervisor Christina White said that with the pandemic upon us, they are hoping to get as many voters as possible to go with the vote-by-mail option.

“We are going to be sending a mailer out — a direct mail piece — to all registered voters in Miami-Dade County who currently don’t have a request on file telling them about this option and encouraging them to vote in that way,” White said.

In Wisconsin, the health department now says 36 people contracted the coronavirus during the recent election there.  

“Wisconsin was heavily criticized in the way that they handled this recent election in the midst of the coronavirus crisis," NBC 6 political analyst Carlos Curbelo said.

White is just one of the state’s election supervisors who sees voting by mail as a benefit especially with the pandemic.

”We all as a state are promoting the vote-by-mail so that you can vote from the comfort and safety of your own home. There is no interaction with poll workers or other voters,” White said.

White and other supervisors wrote Gov. Ron DeSantis this month telling him of troubles during the March election with polling places being unavailable, shortages of hand sanitizer and a reduced number of poll workers. The election heads asked DeSantis to give them the ability to move polls and expand early voting if needed.

"It’s actually modifying the way that we hold our elections to ensure maximum participation with the limited resources we are going to have," White said.

Curbelo doesn’t believe increasing the number of voters using mail-in ballots will aid either party.

“Republicans relied heavily on absentee voters, including today, to win elections. However, the Democrats have been catching up, and I would say these days both parties are pretty adept,” Curbelo said.

The mailers should start arriving in about two weeks in Miami-Dade. White said the polls will still be open for those who want to do it the old school way. Broward’s election head is requesting over $600,000 to be prepared for the August primaries, and a section of that money would go to notifying residents that they have the option of voting by mail.

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