As primary mail ballot returns in Pinellas County approach 100,000, a county canvassing board has begun scrutinizing ballots that have been set aside as defective.
Meeting for the first time on Monday, the three-member board reviewed 159 ballots and rejected 29 of them, most of them because the signature on the ballot envelope didn't match the signature of that voter on file. Five other ballots were rejected because the ballot envelope was signed by someone other than the voter.
Pinellas reported 146 mail ballots arrived with no signature on the ballot envelope as required by law. They have not been rejected because state law allows a voter to "cure" the problem by providing a signature by 5 p.m. next Monday, Aug. 29.
For this primary, the number of rejected mail ballots in Pinellas is likely to be in the hundreds, but it's usually much less than 1 percent of all mail ballots cast.
The Pinellas canvassing board includes County Judge John Carassas, County Commissioner David Eggers and Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark.