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Undelivered Ballots, Voter Registration, COVID-19 In Jails And Remembering Beau Guyott

Matias J. Ocner
Miami Herald
Florida House of Representatives Democratic Leader Kionne L. McGhee addresses reports that special agents with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General discovered backlogged election mail sitting inside the Princeton post office.

A viral video captures undelivered mail-in ballots at a Princeton mail facility in Miami-Dade. Plus, a look at Florida voter registration data. An inmate discusses his experience with COVID-19 in a Broward jail. And we remember unemployment advocate Beau Guyott.

Undelivered Ballots, Voter Registration, COVID-19 In Jails And Remembering Beau Guyott

On this Monday, Nov. 2nd, episode of Sundial:

Undelivered Ballots

Dozens of mail-in ballots at a postal facility in South Dade were left in boxes waiting to be sent to their final destination.

Video of unsent mail went viral on social media Friday after it was posted by Democratic State Representative Kionne McGhee.

Now special agents with the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General are visiting post offices across Miami-Dade to confirm similar problems aren’t occurring.

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The Miami Herald reported that they found 48 ballots altogether, 42 of them were undelivered ballots,” said WLRN’s Jenny Staletovich. “Twenty four were delivered on Saturday. The remaining ballots were either replacement ballots, or people had voted in person. Six were completed and brought to the elections offices.”

Sundial reached out to the National Association of Letter Carriers South Florida President Mark Travers to join us for this interview. He said, “no comment.”

We also reached out to the office of State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, who’s called for an audit, and we have not received a response.

Voter Registration

For years, Democrats held a large advantage in voter registration. But in recent election cycles, Republicans have continually narrowed that gap.

More eligible voters in the state have registered as Republican since 2016––bringing that margin down to about 134,000 from 327,000 in 2016 and 658,000 in 2008.

With the Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, barely leading the state in polls — Republicans are hoping their gains in voter registration are enough to bring President Trump to victory.

“There’s a high correlation between registration and actual turn-out, although the problem for Democrats in the last several election cycles [...] is they have underperformed with some demographics that they really need. And that’s obviously people of color,” said Kevin Walsh, a political science professor at Broward College.

He adds that the Republican ground game in key parts of Florida has been much more effective this time around, as Democrats turned away from more traditional get-out-the-vote activities and focused on boosting vote-by-mail turnout because of the pandemic.

Still, in areas with large registered voter populations, like South Florida, the biggest increase is those registering with no party affiliation, which Walsh says is going to be a deciding factor.

We spoke with Walsh about how the voter registration numbers could give us insight into what happens on Election Day.

COVID-19 In Broward Jails

A new investigation from WLRN Reporter Caitie Switalski Munoz explores one inmate's experience in a Broward County jail with COVID-19. Jails and detention centers—which by design don’t maintain social distancing as they keep individuals in close quarters—are one of the more dangerous spaces for the coronavirus to spread.

Carlos Sadler began feeling sick July 4th weekend, starting with muscle and stomach aches, and eventually losing his sense of smell and taste. It was 10 days, according to him, that he experienced these symptoms while staying in close contact with other people before he got a test.

“He had his attorney file an emergency motion to be released because of his health, but that motion was denied”, said Munoz.

She also reports inmates claim that the water inside jails “had rust in them,” which Sheriff Gregory Tony of the Broward’s Sheriff Office denies.

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) filed a class action lawsuit in Broward County against Sheriff Gregory Tony.

Beau Guyott Passed Away

Back in May, we spoke with Beau Guyott of Palm Beach County about the failures of the Florida unemployment system. He'd lost his restaurant job due to the coronavirus, and walked more than 400 miles to Tallahassee to talk to the lawmakers as well as other workers who lost their jobs.

Guyott died last week in his home at the age of 46. The cause of death hasn’t been determined. We listened back to our conversation with Beau while he was on his journey to Tallahassee, demanding accountability from lawmakers for the state’s unemployment system.

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Suria is Sundial's fall 2020 high school intern and a production assistant.
Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.
Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.