Vote-By-Mail Ballots Are Out. Don’t Send Yours Back Just Yet.

Vote-By-Mail envelope

If you recently received your Vote-By-Mail ballot, you may be wondering why — since there’s still more than five weeks to go before Election Day, August 18.

The date by which ballots must be mailed by Florida’s Supervisors of Elections is set by law, and in my opinion, it’s much too early. I’ve been writing about the elections and encouraging voting by mail for many years. And in that time, I’ve learned that many people – once they receive their ballot – want to fill it out and mail it in right away. My advice is: don’t.

Why You Should Wait

Things can change significantly in the weeks before an election. Candidates can drop out after the ballots are printed. (Think Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bloomberg, and Elizabeth Warren.) Or significant news may break.

I don’t want to risk wasting my vote on a candidate who’s no longer in the race, or who I learn later has done something that changes my view of her/him.

Another reason to wait is to have the time I need to carefully research the candidates and referenda on my ballot. I usually start that work about five weeks before Election Day — meaning I’m just starting now.

See, for example:

What I Am Researching Now

These are the races and referenda I am researching now and will be writing about in the coming weeks:

On the ballot of all Collier voters —

Single-District races on the ballot of some Collier voters —

  • County Commission District 1 Republican Primary
  • County Commission District 5 Republican Primary
  • Congressional District 19 Republican Primary
  • Congressional District 19 Democratic Primary

Referenda on the ballot of some Collier voters —

When to Mail Your Ballot

According to a Collier County Supervisor of Elections press release, the U.S. Postal Service recommends mailing your ballot one week before the due date. That’s to allow for any unforeseen events such as weather issues and to allow for timely receipt and processing by the elections office.

That means you should mail your ballot by August 11.

You may also drop off your ballot at any early voting location between August 8 and August 15 or to the Supervisor of Elections by 7 p.m. on Election Day, August 18.

If you would like to have the benefit of my research before you mail your ballot, please be patient. It’s coming.

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