Lee County voter questions why primary vote was rejected


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Lee County voter questions why primary vote was rejected

By Gabrielle Sarann. CREATED Aug 22, 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Fox 4 sales coordinator Lisa VanTasell and her husband voted by absentee to avoid aggravation and lines at the polls. But now, a letter she received from the Lee County Supervisor of Elections has caused an even bigger headache.

VanTasell hoped her husband Ryan's absentee ballot would make a difference in the August election.

"Now his vote doesn't count for the primary," said VanTasell.
Doesn't count because Ryan is one of 75 in Lee County whose signature didn't match this primary. His current one looks drastically different from his 1995 voter registration card.
"He's frustrated," added VanTasell. "Why did i bother voting and i don't want him to have that attitude either."
Lisa says she mailed in Ryan's absentee form two weeks early on August 1. Only to receive a rejection letter a week after the August 14 primary saying his "signature does not match."
"Why do they ask for an absentee ballot and then when you mail it in with your own postage they can't let you know ahead of time whether it counts or not because of a signature?" questioned VanTasell.
But Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington says that's against the law.
"Once we have possession of that ballot, it's considered a cast ballot and they can't come in and make any changes to it," said Harrington.
That's why voter registration applications go out before every election. So, people can update any changes to their voter ID card. 
"We don't like rejecting these ballots," said Harrington. "It's painful."
Painful because she says every vote should count.  Now Lisa's making sure her husband's does. She mailed his new card this morning. 
"I don't see any reason why it shouldn't count toward the general because we're still two months out," emphasized VanTasell.
Keep in mind, registration applications are mailed ahead of every election. So, you can make changes to your voter profile. And Harrington encourages anyone with questions to visit a branch office. She says staff would be glad to pull up your signature on file to check whether it's changed.