BY JAMES HARPER
A supporter and volunteer for mayoral candidate Derrick Henry learned recently that his absentee ballot was not counted during the Aug. 14 primary.
Dr. Willie Kimmons received a letter from Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall dated Aug. 23. It stated that he had returned an absentee ballot for which “you were given credit for voting.’’
The letter further stated that the elections canvassing board was “unable to accept the ballot for tabulation as the signature on the returned absentee ballot voter certificate envelope did not match your signature on file.”
The letter stated that according to a Florida statue “the signature on file at the start of the canvass of absentee ballots is the signature that shall be used in verifying the signature on the absentee ballot certificate.’’
According to the Volusia County Department of Elections, 350 absentee ballots received for the Aug. 14 primary were rejected by its canvassing board.
Kimmons wrote about election ‘tactics’
The Florida statue states that an absentee ballot shall be considered illegal if it does not include the signature of the elector as shown by the registration records.
Kimmons was told “to ensure your current signature is on file for future elections, please complete the enclosed voter registration application and return it to our office.”
In a reader commentary printed in last week’s Daytona Times, Kimmons wrote about his concern that “some segments of our great city are awfully afraid of change and will do anything to distract, distort, divert and use fear tactics to try and sway voters from voting for Mr. Derrick Henry.’’
The educational consultant added, “I have confidence in the voters in our great city that they are sophisticated and astute enough to recognize what a small segment of our city is trying to do, divide and conquer. Fear, threats and intimidation may have worked in the ’40s, ’50’s and ’60s. It will not work in Daytona Beach’s mayoral election in November 2012.’’
Kimmons told the Times that he took his absentee ballot to the Supervisor of Elections office in DeLand and signed it there.
Signatures randomly checked
Volusia County At Large Councilmember Joyce Cusack served on the canvassing board.
Cusack said she knew who Kimmons was and wanted to push his ballot through but the signature did not match.
“I tried all I could. He has changed his signatures. You have to compare the signatures,” said Cusack.
Kimmons was one of hundreds of absentee ballots randomly checked on Aug. 14, the primary election day.
Cusack said Kimmons had more than one signature on file and none matched his signature on the ballot.
“I would have pushed it through if I could have. There is no way that signatures could have passed,” said Cusack.
“All you got to do is sign your name. Our folks died to be able to vote. I want every vote to count,” she added.
McFall: Request ballots now
McFall said even though the November ballot is not completed, people can request absentee ballots now.
She also wants registered voters to “make sure your signature is updated periodically especially before a major election.”
Upon learning about Kimmons vote not counting, Henry expressed outrage to the Daytona Times.
“The fact that Dr. Kimmons vote did not count is clear evidence that anyone can be disenfranchised and it is a clear example of why we must flood the polls in November to elect a president who cares about equality and local officials who have our best interest at heart,” said Henry.
“We let too many important local elections slide through the cracks in the primary and we are now stuck with county officials who are out to rescind our progress,” he added.
County Council members Joie Alexander and Cusack along with Judge David Foxman made up the canvassing board for the primary.
McFall said the board was “very, very lenient” when it came to disqualifying ballots but absentee ballots with no signatures and signatures that did not match the signature on file had to be rejected.