Voting by mail? You might need to request another ballot
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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Are you voting by mail in the next election? You won’t get your ballot unless you put in a request.

Even if you’ve done so in the past, you’ll need to do it again.

Tampa has a mayoral election coming up on March 7, and requests for mail-in ballots are down sharply, according to Hillsborough County Elections Supervisor Craig Latimer.

“Well, I can tell you just for the City of Tampa, for example, the last election we sent out 58,000 vote by mail packages, right now we only have 14,000 people that have a request on file,” Latimer said.

Last year, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law that imposes limits on absentee voting, requiring voters to request ballots each general election cycle, or every two years. Before the law went into effect, the requests were good for two cycles.

“After the November election in 2022, there was nobody who had a request on file at that point because everybody would have to request again,” Latimer said.

Latimer said he’s been working to notify voters of the changes.

“We’re trying to get the word out. We’ve done mailers and we’ve mailed a post card to everybody who previously voted by mail and we’re trying to get the word out,” he said. “I think that people are just a little bit complacent, they haven’t had to do anything over the last few years accept check that box and so that’s why we are trying to get that word out that you do have to do something else.”

Teresa Potter, the president of the Hillsborough County chapter of the non-partisan group The League of Women’s Voters, says people may have changed their views on absentee voting.

“We’ve talked to a lot of people who have said I haven’t renewed it yet, thinking about voting in person this time,” Potter said.

Potters wants voters to make sure their voices are heard.

“We’re concerned with everybody who wants to be able to vote to make sure that they can vote, and I do think it will have an impact on people who think they’re able to vote and they didn’t renew their mail in ballot and now they find out it’s too late to do that,” she added.

Latimer says the process of requesting an absentee ballot is simple.

“You can go to my web site, or go to the web site of your supervisor of elections in your county, call their office and make that request. It’s a real simple process,” he said.

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