By Rachel Christian – August 12, 2020

It’s the second week of early voting here in Osceola County, with eight locations from Celebration to St. Cloud open now through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
It’s also crunch time to return your vote-by-mail ballot if you haven’t already.
With so many more people voting by mail this year, it may take longer for your ballot to reach the Supervisor of Elections’ office in Kissimmee.

“Anyone who is planning on mailing in their ballot needs to do so right away to ensure that their ballot arrives on time,” said Kari Ewalt, community relations manager at the Osceola County Supervisor of Elections. “I would not recommend waiting until the end of the week to place a ballot in the mail.”

The U.S. Postal Service agrees. They’ve recommended people drop their ballot in the mail at least seven days before the election.
Osceola County is reporting a significant increase in the number of people requesting to vote by mail this year amid coronavirus concerns.

As of Friday, 24,148 mail ballots have been received.

“That is more than in the 2018 primary election total,” Ewalt noted.
But the primaries take place next Tuesday, so time is ticking to submit your vote.

Remember: Your ballot must reach the SOE office by 7 p.m. Aug. 18 to count. The postmark doesn’t matter.
And the longer you wait, the less time you have to correct any errors, such as a mismatched or missing signature.

Other Ways to Return Your Ballot

If you’re worried about your vote arriving on time — or don’t trust the post office — you have other options.
From now until Sunday, you can drop your ballot off at any early voting location in Osceola.

Each site is equipped with a secure indoor drop box and monitored by election workers, so you know you’re vote is safe.
There’s no early voting on Monday, Aug. 17, and the election takes place Aug. 18.
On those two days, the only place to drop off your completed vote-by-mail ballot is the Supervisor of Elections Office, located at 2509 E. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Kissimmee.

The SOE drop box is located outside the building, so you can return your ballot any time.

Can I Still Vote In Person?

Yes, you can still go to the polls, even if you received a mail-in ballot. According to Ewalt, turnout during the first week of early voting is down compared to 2018.

But she noted: “This decrease isn’t surprising considering the number of vote-by-mail ballots that we’ve received.” Obviously, you can’t vote twice, so to speed things along, bring your uncompleted mail-in ballot to the polling place so it can be voided.

If you misplaced your ballot, you can still vote in person. A poll worker can look up your information in the SOE system to confirm you haven’t voted yet, but without your uncompleted ballot, the process may take a little longer. If you’ve already returned your ballot, give yourself a pat on the back. Also, head over to the SOE website to track your ballot and make sure it was received.

Check your mail-in ballot status by clicking here. Or call their office at 407-742-6000.

By Rachel Christian for Positively Osceola