Christina White: Geared up for smoothest possible November vote and count
As supervisor of elections for Miami-Dade County, Florida’s most populous county and the seventh-most populous county in the nation, Christina White’s days are dependably busy.
Ahead of a general election with added complexities including an ongoing pandemic and an expected 600,000-plus vote-by-mail ballot requests, “the pressure is on,” she said.
“Every election is important and we treat them all equally, but this one is certainly throwing us a curveball with the Covid requirements and trying to make sure we have the proper workforce in place,” she said. “Still, I feel good and believe we’ll have another successful election that we’ll be proud of. Our voters will feel well-served.”
While the time to register to vote has come and gone, the election’s remaining deadlines are of vital importance, she continued.
The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot is no later than 5 p.m. Oct. 24. Early voting is Oct. 19 through Nov. 1. There are 33 early voting sites throughout Miami-Dade, all open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters can go to any one of them.
Florida law requires that Ms. White’s department receive vote-by-mail ballots no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. Voting sites close at the same time.
“My message for this election is not to wait to request a ballot, mail it in or vote in person,” she said. “Take advantage of early voting.”
Voters casting ballots by mail also shouldn’t dawdle in sending them back, as it gives Ms. White’s office and voters time to fix any problems that may arise, including those related to signatures.
“If you forgot to sign or if the signature doesn’t match, we notify you of that deficiency and then you have to fill out an affidavit, make a photocopy of your ID and get it back to us,” she said. “The deadline to cure your ballot is no later than Thursday at 5 p.m. after the election, and the sooner you put the request in, the sooner I can mail the ballot back and the sooner you can get it back to me so I can cure that deficiency.”
To keep up with the flood of mail-in ballot demands, Ms. White’s department bought extra ballot printers. The department also added drop boxes at every early voting location so that voters can deposit ballots without ever having to get out of their cars.
“It’s essentially contactless,” she said. “That was very well-received by voters in the primary, and we’re happy to do it again for the general.”
Inside polling places, workers will be equipped with masks, gloves, face shields and hand sanitizers. They’ll wipe down all common touchpoints throughout the day and ensure voters maintain social distance.
The goal, she said, is to keep the process quick and easy while also upholding CDC and Department of Health guidelines.
“Voters who prefer to vote in person [won’t be] discouraged and know that we’re taking this very seriously, so they and our poll workers feel safe,” she said. “That’s being infused at all levels of the operation.”
Ms. White spoke by phone with reporter Jesse Scheckner.
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