Young Parkland Voters’ Ballots Were Rejected at Higher Rate Than State Average in November, Research Finds

March 25, 2019 AT 7:30 AM

By Tim Craig

Ronni Isenberg was away at college when one of her former neighbors stormed into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year and killed 17 people, including one of her friends.

As she watched the aftermath of the tragedy unfold from Syracuse University in New York, feeling too far away from home, Isenberg immediately knew she had to join other Parkland, Fla., students in channeling her anger into political support for tougher gun laws.

Last March, a month after the shooting, Isenberg flew from college to Washington to participate in the March for Our Lives demonstration on the Mall, organized by Parkland students. She made sure she was registered to vote in Florida and then encouraged her friends at Syracuse to also register.

But Isenberg recently learned that her vote — as well as those of dozens of students from Parkland — was probably never counted.

About 1 in 7 mail-in ballots submitted by college-age voters in Parkland were rejected or failed to arrive in time to be counted, according to an analysis. The findings are adding to questions about the reliability and fairness of the Florida electoral system, including its ballot signature requirement that became a flash point in the November recount between U.S. Sen Rick Scott (R) and the Democrat he ousted from office, Bill Nelson.

“We wanted to make a change and vote for change,” Isenberg said. “I should have had the right to vote, and my vote should have been counted.”

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