Vote yet? I thought I had, then I went to the elections office…

If you voted by mail, it's a good idea to track your ballot online.

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Something was bugging me about my vote — and it wasn't just the excruciating campaign leading up to it.

I'd received a request this summer from the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections asking me to update my signature, which I did. But after I signed and mailed my 2016 general election ballot, I got to worrying — what if the dashed-off, almost illegible sig on my ballot didn't match the one I'd sent in this summer? Would a discrepancy mean my vote wouldn't be counted?

I stopped by the downtown St. Pete elections office this morning to check. I'm very glad I did — because they had no record of having received a general election ballot from me at all.

I'm not sure what happened here. Maybe I thought I'd mailed my ballot in but I never actually did? I can be scatterbrained like that, but this year? Feels unlikely. (And there's no sign of the ballot in the house.) Maybe there's been a higher volume than usual, and I neglected to note the fine print saying that ballots needed to be mailed in at least a week before the election. (I think I sent mine out right before Halloween, but like I say, it's fuzzy.) I resist notions that my ballot was somehow confiscated and trashed, because I agree with the notion that all this hysteria about voter fraud is just that — hysteria. (Check out this Republican election lawyer's take on the subject: I especially like the line, “To rig an election, you would need 1) technological capabilities that exist only in Mission Impossible movies, plus 2) the cooperation of the Republicans and Democrats who are serving as the polling place’s election officials, plus 3) the blind eyes of the partisan poll watchers who are standing over their shoulders, plus 4) the cooperation of another set of Republicans and Democrats — the officials at the post-elections canvass, plus 5) the blind eyes of the canvass watchers, too.”)

In any case, when the nice lady at the office asked if I wanted to fill out a new mail-in ballot and drop it off today, I said damn right, or words to that effect, and went about doing just that. She said that if for some reason my first mail-in ballot were to arrive, say, tomorrow, today's vote would take precedence and the ballot received tomorrow would be thrown out.

She also told me something I didn't know before: I could have tracked my mail-in ballot online at If I had, I would have discovered what she discovered — that my ballot had been mailed to me, but for some reason it had never made it to the elections office.

You can bet I'll be regularly clicking on the "Track Your Mail Ballot" button on all through today and tomorrow to make sure it took. Hillsborough voters can do the same by clicking the "Track My Vote" button on the homepage of, and Pasco voters can check their Vote by Mail status at

If you do discover a problem, head right down to your local elections office, ask some questions, and, if necessary, fill out a new mail-in ballot as I did and drop it in the box. (Mail-ins can be deposited right up until poll closing time tomorrow, Election Day, at 7 p.m.)

You'll get one of those nifty little "I Voted" stickers — and this time you'll be certain that you did, in fact, vote.

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