Canvassing Ballots

The coal plant referendum issue is heating up as we get closer to a decision on Thursday. More than 24,000 ballots were delivered to the Leon County Canvassing Board on Monday for review.

Three hundred forty four ballots were rejected, and of those, 300 could not be counted because the voter failed to sign the affidavit on the back of the envelope. That leaves 24,179 to be counted for Monday.

The sound of ripping paper is music to the ears of Leon County elections officials. Once separated from the signed envelope, the ballots will go there to be counted.

Even with 24,000 ballots in days before Thursday's 7 p.m. deadline, elections officials are not so sure their turnout goal will be met.

Janet Olin, Assistant Supervisor of Elections for Leon County, says, "I think it's going to be challenging for our community to reach the anticipated 50 percent that we had hoped for at this stage in the game, and we are looking at a 23 to 24 percent turnout."

It’s a disappointment, but Olin says it could've been worse if voters had to go to the polls. Now, of the 111,000 ballots mailed out, about 12,000 have yet to make it to voters, even on second and third mail outs.

Olin says many of those appear to be college students.

Marjorie Wright picked hers up at the courthouse.

Marjorie says, "It never arrived. I got all the other stuff and the reminders and never got the actual ballot, so I came to vote and to pick up the ballots for my husband and my son."

Ballots can be picked up and dropped off at the Leon County Courthouse, but that's only until 7 p.m. Thursday night,

When the ballots will be counted and we'll all know what Tallahassee voters decided on the coal referendum.

The plaza area of the Leon County Courthouse will be open through Thursday. That's Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho and Janet Olin say they would do the mail out election again. Even if they only get about a 24 percent turnout, that is still higher than what they would've seen if people had to go to the precincts.