The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot for the City of Gainesville’s upcoming special runoff election is 5 p.m. Saturday.
The Nov. 16 special election to replace former Gainesville City Commissioner Gail Johnson failed to provide a clear victor with neither candidate attaining the required 50 percent of the votes to avoid a runoff. Out of 11,725 votes cast, Cynthia Moore Chestnut earned 46 percent of the vote against Matt Howland, who earned 41 percent.
Vote-by-mail ballot requests can be made by visiting VoteAlachua.com, by calling 352-374-5252, by mail, or in person at the Supervisor of Elections office. Requests must be made by the voter or an immediate family member and must include the voter’s date of birth and Florida driver’s license number or Florida ID card number, or the last four digits of a social security number.
Until the deadline, vote-by-mail ballot requests will be filled as they are received. Any voter can sign up to vote by mail.
The Supervisor of Elections must receive vote-by-mail ballots by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Jan. 25. Voters who vote by mail are encouraged to have their completed ballots mailed no later than a week prior to Election Day, to ensure ballots arrive at the Supervisor of Elections office by the deadline.
Voters should also make sure that their voter information and signature are updated before they return a ballot if the person has moved or has a new signature.
The elections office encourages voters to be alert when filling out and mailing a vote-by-mail ballot. Advice from the Supervisor of Elections includes:
- Completely color in the oval next to your choice on your ballot — do not circle or mark an “X” over the oval.
- If you make a mistake on your ballot, call the Supervisor of Elections office at 352-374-5252.
- Be sure to sign your own mail ballot certificate envelope.
- Return your mail ballot in the official envelope provided. Return postage is prepaid.
Any voter who does not sign their ballot, or whose signature on the vote-by-mail ballot certificate does not compare to the signature in their voter record, will be contacted by the Supervisor of Elections office and provided the opportunity to correct the ballot.
According to Florida Statutes, voters have until 5 p.m. on Jan. 27 to complete an affidavit to correct a vote-by-mail ballot that does not have a signature or has a signature that does not match the person’s voter record signature.
Starting Sunday, Jan. 16, voters may authorize another person to pick up a vote-by-mail ballot from the Supervisor of Elections office. A designee must have a note signed by the voter and a picture ID. They must also complete an affidavit, which is available online.
Designees may not pick up more than two mail-in ballots per election, excluding their own ballot and a ballot for an immediate family member.
Voters can drop off completed vote-by-mail ballots at the Supervisor of Elections office, located at 515 N. Main St., 3rd Floor, in Gainesville during normal business hours from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Mail-in ballot drop boxes will be available at the Supervisor of Elections office and at Millhopper Branch Library during early voting starting from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 21-23. Once early voting has ended, the mail-in dropbox will only be available at the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections office during the following days and times:
- Monday, Jan. 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (office hours)
- Tuesday, Jan. 25 (Election Day) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (dropbox will be available during the same hours as voting at the precincts)
The mail-in ballot drop box at the Millhopper Branch Library will not be available after early voting has ended at 6 p.m. on Jan. 23.
For more information, contact the Supervisor of Elections office at 352-374-5252.