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Secrecy sleeve not required for Hillsborough County mail-in ballot to count, Supervisor of Elections says

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — More and more Floridians are choosing to vote by mail this election instead of heading to the polls. Here at ABC Action News we are working to get any questions you have answered to help you have confidence that your vote will count this election.Several ABC Action News viewers have raised concerns about the secrecy sleeve included in the vote-by-mail package so we went straight to Craig Latimer, who is Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, for answers.“Normally what we will do is we will take the secrecy sleeve with the ballot out of the envelope and then the envelope goes off the table so there is no association,” said Latimer. The secrecy sleeve is an extra layer of protection for the voter. If a Hillsborough County voter forgets to include it when they mail or bring their ballot back, it is not an issue.“It’s not a problem if they forget the secrecy sleeve and just put it in the envelope. That happens, we see it. It’s not going to be withheld,” said Latimer. He did suggest reading all of the information on the secrecy sleeve because it answers most questions people have for the elections offices. Voters have the option of mailing back their ballot, bringing it to an elections office, or dropping it off at an early voting location once they open on October 19, 2020.Latimer said problems the elections office does see are people forgetting to sign and date the back of the envelope or signatures not matching.“There is a cure for that though. We will begin to immediately start reaching out to you. On the back of the envelope we ask for more information to reach out to you so you can cure that signature mismatch or that issue,” said Latimer.ABC Action News made a Guide to Elections that includes important deadlines and a county-by-county breakdown on how to track your ballot, find your polling location and request a vote-by-mail ballot.

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