Mail-in ballots have started to be calculated in Palm Beach County ahead of the August 18th primary election.
On Monday, ballots that had already been mailed in to the Supervisor of Elections began to be tabulated in an effort to get a head start on what is expected to be a much larger than usual number of votes by mail.
Election officials in Florida and across the county are encouraging voting by mail for those concerned about going to the polls amid the surging coronavirus pandemic.
“It will be a lot and we’re probably be doing double shifts, but we’ll get it done,” said Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link.
Some states that instituted widespread vote by mail systems have seen significant delays in results, along with errors counting votes. In New York, voting ended on June 23 but the results of several races are still unknown.
Additionally, Republicans and the Trump 2020 Campaign continue to voice concerns about vote by mail and potential fraud, less than 100 days away from the general election.
“Vote by mail is just a methodology that would be ripe for fraud,” said Donald Trump Jr. in an interview with CBS 12 News. “We want people to vote. We want an accurate count of the vote and we don’t want people cheating in this election.”
Republicans are concerned that a widespread vote by mail system, particularly a national system, will cause widespread fraud with voter identities difficult to verify.
In Palm Beach County, Sartory Link says that each mail in ballot is verified for fraud, matching the signature on the ballot to a signature in the elections database.
Additionally, proponents of vote by mail say they’re concerned attacks on the system will discourage people who may need the service from using it.
“A lot of people confuse vote by mail with absentee ballots. So many states have absentee balloting. That’s fine,” said Donald Trump Jr. in response to those concerns.
“In Florida, vote by mail [and] absentee, they’re really the same thing,” said Sartory Link when asked about the difference between the two, adding that unlike in some states, all Florida residents can ask for a mail in ballot and do not need to provide a reason. “The terms are interchangeable.”