Absentee ballots take the long way
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Fox 4 discovering some major slow downs at the post office when it comes to delivering your absentee ballot.
In some cases, it's taking as long as 10 to 15 days for ballots to get into Lee County voters' hands.
A record 92,000 ballots have gone out in Lee so far.
And if you haven't received your absentee ballot by now, you may well have to physically go to the polls to cast your ballot.
But that 's not an option for Mark Richards' and his son.
The dad has been trying to track down his son Zack's absentee ballot for about 3 weeks.
"The ballot was sent on the 5th of October," he tells us.
But his son, who's studying at Marietta College in Ohio, is still waiting.
"My concern is that it won't arrive there in time for the election," says Mark.
Lee County Elections Supervisor Sharon Harrington tells us the county's absentee ballots are being printed and mailed by a 3rd party contractor, Advanced Ballot Solutions in Tampa.
But, she adds, it takes only 1 to 2 days to get ballots in the mail.
Reporter: "So you're assuring this dad that having this 3rd party involved is not delaying the process?"
Ms. Harrington: "Not at all."
The elections supervisor says the problem lies with the post office.
"I have one ballot that started out in Tampa, went to Mobile, Alabama, went to Jacksonville and then went to our facility here in Lee County to be delivered," she explains.
A ten day trip to deliver a ballot between cities that are only 130 miles apart.
And there's no telling how many other ballots made similar trips.
Reporter: "How concerned are you about this?"
Ms. Harrington: "Extremely concerned. We've never had problems like this."
The elections supervisor assures she will have Zack's absentee ballot overnighted to Ohio if it doesn't turn up by the 31st.
In the meantime, the clock it ticking.
"I personally would feel like I let him down if I didn't do everything I could do to make sure he got the ballot," says Zack's dad.
The elections supervisor thinks the post office is just overwhelmed with facility closings.
Fox 4 did call the US Post Office Southwest Florida spokesperson, but we still haven't heard back.