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As Nicole approaches, voting rights groups call for extension to fix thousands of Florida mail-in ballots

NewsAs Nicole approaches, voting rights groups call for extension to fix thousands of Florida mail-in ballots

TALLAHASSEE — A multitude of voting rights organizations are urging Gov. Ron DeSantis and Secretary of State Cord Byrd to extend the deadline for Florida voters to fix issues with thousands of mail-in or provisional ballots.

The call comes as Tropical Storm Nicole barrels toward the state, projected to become a hurricane before making landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday.

Common Cspanuse Floridspan says that more than 16,000 Floridians who voted by mail had their ballots flagged for signature or other issues. That represents about 0.6% of all vote-by-mail ballots cast.

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Common Cause and others, including the League of Women Voters of Florida and the Campaign Legal Center, want Floridians to have until 5 p.m. Monday to fix their ballots and for provisional voters to prove their eligibility, according to span letter they sent Tuesdspany. In the event the storm “causes substantial damage and displacement,” they ask the deadline be extended at least 10 days past Election Day.

The current deadline is 5 p.m. Thursday.

“The storm system will erect substantial barriers to voters’ ability to timely submit cure documentation by making travel to county election centers difficult or dangerous, or inhibiting Internet access necessary to submit cure forms online,” the groups wrote.

Byrd, the secretary of state, told reporters Tuesday night that Florida would make any needed adjustments to the post-Election Day schedule. 

“While it is still premature, I want to be clear that we will ensure that every eligible vote will count,” Byrd said.

Common Cause Florida said the state hadn’t responded to its letter as of Wednesday morning.

Voters with flagged mail-in ballots must fill out this form and provide a copy of needed forms. It must be signed and submitted by the Thursday deadline.

“I’m urging Florida voters who voted by mail to check with their supervisor of elections office now to make sure their ballot was received without problems, and take steps to fix any signature issues,” said Amy Keith, Common Cause Florida’s program director, in a statement.

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