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Broward County's Primary Election Ballot Blunder

Florida's Supervisors of Elections began sending out vote-by-mail ballots for the 2022 Florida Primaries in mid-July. It didn't take long for voters in South Florida to notice that something was wrong.

Broward County's Supervisor of Elections, Joe Scott, explained that the ballots were already being mailed out when the new congressional district lines were set, making ballots for a "few hundred households" outdated.

Wait a minute. On his official website, Mr. Scott's "Message to Voters" provides a timeline for the final district maps:

On March 3, 2022, the Florida Supreme Court deemed the state house and state senate maps valid pursuant to their constitutional review.

On March 4, 2022, the Florida Legislature passed CS/SB 102, which contains the congressional districts (H000C8019) to serve for the qualification, nomination, and election of members to the U.S. House of Representatives in the primary and general elections held in 2022 and thereafter.

And a quick check with Florida's Division of Elections shows that vote-by-mail ballots for the Primary Election were to be sent between July 14 - 21.

Maybe Mr. Scott can clear up the confusion?

Initial reports indicated that the error actually involved thousands of ballots, and an undetermined number of those ballots were tabulated before the error was discovered. Attempts at confirming these reports were unsuccessful.

It's not even a situation where the U.S. Census snuck up on everyone and no one was prepared for it.

A Little Bit of History: The Census and Redistricting

Our Constitution mandates that every 10 years all residents in the United States must be counted. How does this relate to our elections?

After each decennial Census the Legislature redraws the districts from which Florida voters elect their state representatives, state senators, and members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Redistricting is the redrawing of congressional and state legislative districts to adjust for uneven growth rates in different parts of the state. Districts determine which voters participate in which elections. Florida Senate

How Does Redistricting Affect Voters?

Districts determine which elections a voter is eligible to participate in, his or her representatives, and the contests that appear on their ballots. A voter's representatives, precinct, and polling location may change.

Once the Florida Legislature and local governing bodies finalize their district maps, Supervisors of Elections can redraw precinct boundaries, assign new precincts and polling locations, and notify voters of these changes.

"The thing I'm most worried about is that people will use this to attack the vote-by-mail system." Joe Scott, Broward County Supervisor of Elections

Actually, Mr. Scott, that's not what Florida voters are most worried about. They're most worried about their votes being secure and their election officials being transparent and accountable to their constituents.

And Florida voters have questions:

  • Were ballots actually mailed out, as Mr. Scott said, before redistricting was finalized in March?

  • How many votes were counted before the error was discovered?

  • Were races won or lost because a "few hundred households" didn't get to vote for their candidate?

  • What's been done to make sure this doesn't happen again?

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