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Riley: Don’t let your ballot be returned, undeliverable

Heather Riley Special to
the Times
The Apalach Times

The Supervisor of Elections office was contacted in early April by the Franklin County School Board Attorney Barbara Sanders concerning the school board’s ad valorem millage renewal that has taken place every four years since it was first approved in 2008. With approval from the Franklin County board of county commissioners the decision was reached to hold a mail ballot election for the referendum.

A mail ballot election was first held for the referendum question in 2016. Turnout for the election was just under 25 percent, which was an improvement over the turnouts of around 20 percent for the previous two elections in 2012 and 2008, which were conducted traditionally. In 2016, 7,472 ballots were mailed out, with a return of 1,863 ballots to be counted. Here in 2020 we are looking at mailing out 8,180 ballots and are hoping for a much better percentage of return.

The biggest hurdle we face in the elections office with a mail ballot election is returned undeliverable mail. The population in our county is very fluid, and unfortunately our office is one of the last places people remember to submit an address change until it is election time.

We would like to urge voters that may have moved since the last time they voted to please update your address with our office so that you don’t miss out on this, or any other, election-related mailings. It’s as easy as either filling out a new voter registration application, calling our office at 653-9520 or going online to our website at www.votefranklin.com and clicking on the Register to Vote tab. Our office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Books close to new registrations on Monday, May 25, and we will begin mailing out ballots the first week of June, Florida Statute 101.6103 states ballots are to be mailed no earlier than 20, and no later than 10 days before the election. Just like in any other election, ballots are due back in our office by 7 p.m. election night, Tuesday, June 23. We have two Vote by Mail drop boxes in the county for anyone concerned about not getting their ballot mailed back in time to meet the deadline. One is located on the front of our building at 47 Ave F, Apalachicola, and the other is located in the drive thru of the courthouse annex at 912 NW Ave A in Carrabelle.

Once you have voted your ballot and inserted it into the return envelope, you must sign and date the Voter’s Certificate on the back of the envelope for your vote to be counted. There is a space to include your phone number and/or email address; those are not required but do help us if we need to contact you for any reason. Below that there is a check box to continue to receive Vote by Mail ballots for all upcoming elections through the General Election of 2022.

If you do not receive your ballot in the mail, please contact our office at 653-9520. We hope you will take this opportunity to cast your ballot and make your vote count.

Heather Riley, the Franklin County supervisor of elections, can be rsached at heather@votefranklin.com