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My Turn
Other Views from Those in the Know
Alison Berke Morano
vice chair, Florida Democratic Party
Vote By Mail. It's Easy and Phone Will Stop Ringing

The 2012 election cycle seems to have come upon us faster than past campaigns.  Why? Candidates start campaigning almost as soon as the previous Election Day is over. And as population grows throughout the nation, it becomes necessary to offer alternative ways for everyone to have a chance to vote.

This has led to options such as early voting and absentee voting (also known as “Vote by Mail” and “Vote at Home”) growing in popularity every election cycle.  Even though we are more than three weeks out from Election Day on Nov. 6, Floridians throughout the state have already started voting. Vote by Mail ballots have already been shipped to the military and to Florida residents who live overseas. And this week, Vote by Mail ballots started landing in mailboxes of those who requested them. 

Why Vote by Mail?  Voting is an easy way to make sure your voice is heard in this election. This election is going to be close and the stakes are higher than ever before, which is why millions of Floridians are expected to turn out to re-elect President Barack Obama and to vote in races up and down the ballot.  In a state like Florida, it’s becoming more and more important to vote before Election Day, if only to make sure that your vote is checked in and checked off. 

By voting in advance of Nov. 6 you’ll be able to track your vote and, if necessary, clear up any issues with your identity or your voter registration (such as your signature) before the final day of voting – avoiding the possibility of having to cast a provisional ballot at your polling place.

Voting by mail is an ideal way to cast a thoughtful, complete vote. Studies show that voters who vote in the privacy of their own home take more time to consider all of the candidates, and ask questions on more complicated sections like judicial choices, and the constitutional amendments.

Taxpayer Savings.  Early voting is not only convenient, it’s economical. By offering more voting options spaced out over several weeks, especially using Vote by Mail, the supervisors of elections are able to cut down on voting locations, and poll workers, saving the counties and the state thousands of dollars.

The Phone Calls Stop. One of the most popular reasons to request a Vote by Mail ballot, aside from convenience and saving time out of a busy day, is that once you’ve returned your ballot – the campaign phone calls and mail will STOP. As the ballots are returned, the local Supervisor of Elections office reports the returns to the Division of Elections. Campaigns will remove your name from their call lists as the database is updated with returned ballots. If you’re vote is in the bank, they don’t need to bother you anymore.

Requesting a Vote by Mail Ballot.  If you’d like to request a Vote by Mail ballot, you may do so until Oct. 31. Go to your county supervisor of elections website, or visit their main office and request a “carry out absentee ballot.”

If you’d like to track either your voter registration or your Vote by Mail status, the Florida website is: www.registration.elections.myflorida.com/CheckVoterStatus

If you return your Vote by Mail ballot in person, you must return your completed ballot to your local supervisor of elections office, not a polling place or early voting site.

No matter which method you use to vote in Florida for the Nov. 6 general election, just make sure you VOTE.

Alison Berke Morano, a long-time resident of Pasco County, is vice chair of the Florida Democratic Party.

Published Thursday, October 11, 2012

by Dr. Radut.