Plenty of absentee ballots didn't make the grade

Last Updated: Sunday, December 09, 2012

More people voted by mail in Pinellas County during the recent presidential election than any other county in Florida.

But many of those votes did not count.

According to Bay News 9's partner newspaper the Tampa Bay Times, more than 700 Pinellas ballots were disqualified because voters did not follow instructions.

Among the record 249,000 Pinellas voters who voted absentee, 737 did not follow basic instructions, and the county's canvassing board disqualified their ballots.

Bay area-wide, elections supervisors rejected nearly 3,000 absentee ballots for reasons such as not including identification, no signature or signature not matching the one on file.

Pasco County rejected 457 absentees out of more than 60,000 cast, while Hillsborough rejected 1,669 out of more than 171,000 cast.

Those two counties' rejection rates are higher than Pinellas' because they include absentees that arrived after polls closed on Nov. 6. Pinellas had 778 of those, but did not include them as rejected ballots.

Hillsborough rejected three dozen absentees cast by people who voted for the first time in Florida. Those voters were required to mail a copy of an ID, and 35 didn't.

A total of 99 Hillsborough voters had their ballots tossed out because of non-matching signatures.

Still, the overwhelming majority of the 2.4 million absentee ballots did count.