My Vote Didn't Count - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

My Vote Didn't Count

Posted: Updated:
English teacher Brian Chappell English teacher Brian Chappell
Brian Chappell is a Miami Gardens resident. Brian Chappell is a Miami Gardens resident.
Brian Chappell voted on whether to approve a $60 million bond issue in Miami Gardens. Brian Chappell voted on whether to approve a $60 million bond issue in Miami Gardens.

A South Florida man wanted his voice to be heard when he voted in a recent election, but he says afterwards the city told him his vote didn't count, which is why he's calling Help Me Howard. Here's 7's Patrick Fraser.

WSVN -- When I read Brian Chappell's e-mail to Help Me Howard, I was impressed at how well it was written. When we met Brian, it made sense.

Brian Chappell: "I'm an English teacher. It's that simple, it's that simple."

A big man with a deep voice, who says he never raises it in a classroom.

Brian Chappell: "If you raise your voice, in three or four days their voice are higher, your voice is high, you go home tired. But if I'm talking at the same rate, they have to be quiet to hear what I have to say. Works very well."

Brian takes teaching his high school students seriously, and he takes voting in elections seriously as well.

Brian Chappell: "It's important, because I think you need to exercise your right and make your voice heard."

Brian brought up his right to vote because earlier this year, Miami Gardens residents were asked to approve a $60 million bond issue. The only way you could vote was a mail-in ballot.

Brian Chappell: "I completed the information, made sure I signed it, because you must sign the outside of the envelope before sending it in."

The bond issue was approved. Next....

Brian Chappell: "I got a letter from the supervisor of elections saying that after they evaluated the ballot, my signature didn't match that one they had on file, so they discarded it. My vote did not count."

Brian registered to vote when he was 18, and has voted at the polls in every election. He says he has never mailed in his vote.

Brian Chappell: "I don't know what signature they are talking about, because I did not fill out an absentee ballot request, so I would not have a signature on file."

And being told his ballot was thrown out really bothers him.

Brian Chappell: "It makes me feel like my vote was stolen, and I was perturbed, I was angry."

Well, Howard, if a city decides to hold a mail-in election, if they decide your ballot doesn't count, do you have a right to be notified to make sure your vote counts?

Howard Finkelstein: "Mail-in elections are usually used for bond votes and cannot be used if a candidate is on the ballot. But according to a law passed in Florida a few years ago, if your signature doesn't match what they have on file, you have no right to be notified, no right to contest it, and your vote will not count."

Christina White, the Miami-Dade Elections spokesperson, told us two judges and a trained elections department employee determined if a signature on the ballot matched the voter's signature on file.

This is the signature the county had from 2006 on file from Brian. These are examples of his more current signature. The canvassing board concluded they did not match and tossed out Brian's ballot.

By the way, 9491 ballots were mailed in; 8520 were tabulated and accepted. More than 10 percent, 971 were thrown out because the canvassing board concluded they did not match.

The advice from the elections office: Update your signature that is on file.

Brian Chappell: "Very confusing, very confusing. Ultimately there is nothing that I could have done to get my vote counted."

Having his ballot tossed out did not affect the election. The bond issue won easily, and on the bright side, Brian says, it was a small, one-issue vote.

Brian Chappell: "This particular election was not one that counted for the midterm or the governor or mayor. It was one single item issue, and luckily, if you are going to have a problem like this, this is the kind of election you want to have a problem on, because it does not count on a lot of other levels."

Update your signature in case you want to mail in a ballot or you vote in a mail-in election. Big elections are coming up, so it's not a bad time to do it. In Miami-Dade, just fill out the voter application form and sign it. The link to that form is at the end of this Help Me Howard story. In Broward, they told me to just mail in any piece of paper with your signature, and that will be enough, though you might want to write that it's for updating your signature on file.

Facing a problem you have elected to give up on? Don't cast it aside. Sign up with us. If there were polls, they would show we won't mail in the effort, cause we'll match you with a solution.

With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Miami-Dade County voter application form
http://www.miamidade.gov/elections/Library/webappform.pdf

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:

E-mail: helpmehoward@wsvn.com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

  • Out for JusticeMore>>

  • Heather Riggio

    Heather Riggio

    Friday, August 8 2014 11:45 PM EDT2014-08-09 03:45:59 GMT
    Heather RiggioHeather Riggio
    She was only 19 years old and made a mistake that many young people do: She started hanging around with the wrong crowd. The next thing her family knew, she was gone. What happened to her? Here is tonight's Out for Justice with Patrick Fraser.
    She was only 19 years old and made a mistake that many young people do: She started hanging around with the wrong crowd. The next thing her family knew, she was gone. What happened to her? Here is tonight's Out for Justice with Patrick Fraser.
  • Alfred McCormick

    Alfred McCormick

    Saturday, July 26 2014 1:00 AM EDT2014-07-26 05:00:26 GMT
    Minister Alfred McCormickMinister Alfred McCormick
    He was a man of God, but early one morning Minister Alfred McCormick was gunned down in the street like a criminal. Maybe because a crook thought he was a crook he was looking for. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out For Justice, detectives are determined to find his killer, but they need your help.
    He was a man of God, but early one morning Minister Alfred McCormick was gunned down in the street like a criminal. Maybe because a crook thought he was a crook he was looking for. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out For Justice, detectives are determined to find his killer, but they need your help.
  • Qualecia James

    Qualecia James

    Friday, July 11 2014 11:30 PM EDT2014-07-12 03:30:24 GMT
    Qualecia James (right) and her daughterQualecia James (right) and her daughter
    Last March, an afternoon out with friends ended in a barrage of bullets for a pregnant Miami Gardens mother. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out for Justice, detectives made an arrest in the case last week, but their work is far from over, and they need your help to bring in the rest of the killers.
    Last March, an afternoon out with friends ended in a barrage of bullets for a pregnant Miami Gardens mother. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out for Justice, detectives made an arrest in the case last week, but their work is far from over, and they need your help to bring in the rest of the killers.
  • Carmel on the CaseMore>>

  • Bad Romance: Criminal Casanova Arrested

    Bad Romance: Criminal Casanova Arrested

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:54:12 GMT
    Frank Amanti Frank Amanti
    Two women say they've been used by a seasoned South Florida felon known for breaking hearts and the law. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
    Two women say they've been used by a seasoned South Florida felon known for breaking hearts and the law. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
  • Escort service busted from within

    Escort service busted from within

    Wednesday, August 13 2014 10:34 AM EDT2014-08-13 14:34:17 GMT
    34-year-old Joshua Rubenstein and 58-year-old Doug Juiffre34-year-old Joshua Rubenstein and 58-year-old Doug Juiffre
    Two South Florida men are locked up tonight, arrested in connection with the operation of an escort service, and just one reporter was there from the beginning of a case that could be the first of its kind. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero with the exclusive.
    Two South Florida men are locked up tonight, arrested in connection with the operation of an escort service, and just one reporter was there from the beginning of a case that could be the first of its kind. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero with the exclusive.
  • Paver Projects at Trash Sites Raise Questions

    Paver Projects at Trash Sites Raise Questions

    Tuesday, August 5 2014 10:41 PM EDT2014-08-06 02:41:41 GMT
    It cost Miami-Dade County $768,062 to put these pavers in three of the county's 13 trash sites. It cost Miami-Dade County $768,062 to put these pavers in three of the county's 13 trash sites.
    WSVN -- Miami-Dade County is looking at deep cuts to balance the budget, so why was money spent to make dump sites look better? Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
    WSVN -- Miami-Dade County is looking at deep cuts to balance the budget, so why was money spent to make dump sites look better? Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
  • 7News InvestigationMore>>

  • Captain of Controversy

    Captain of Controversy

    Capt. Francesco SchettinoCapt. Francesco Schettino
    In Italy this week, the captain of the Costa Concordia began pre-trial hearings he hopes will convince a judge that the deadly shipwreck was an accident and not a crime. Earlier this year, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero traveled to Italy for an exclusive interview with Captain Schettino and now has a special assignment report on what he will be telling the court.
    In Italy this week, the captain of the Costa Concordia began pre-trial hearings he hopes will convince a judge that the deadly shipwreck was an accident and not a crime. Earlier this year, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero traveled to Italy for an exclusive interview with Captain Schettino and now has a special assignment report on what he will be telling the court.
  • Till Death Do Us Part

    Till Death Do Us Part

    Thursday, November 7 2013 11:54 PM EST2013-11-08 04:54:26 GMT
    Alejandra Apraez said her wedding was ruined when the florist she hired did not show up. Alejandra Apraez said her wedding was ruined when the florist she hired did not show up.
    There is very little that will match a bride's wedding day -- a day, months, even years in the planning -- and one South Florida woman's wedding was ruined when the florist didn't show up. Why? A death ... but was there a death? Tonight, investigative reporter Patrick Fraser has the amazing story in a report we call "Till Death Do Us Part."
    There is very little that will match a bride's wedding day -- a day, months, even years in the planning -- and one South Florida woman's wedding was ruined when the florist didn't show up. Why? A death ... but was there a death? Tonight, investigative reporter Patrick Fraser has the amazing story in a report we call "Till Death Do Us Part."
  • Blackwater Fever

    Blackwater Fever

    It was a terrible form of malaria that killed two men. Turning their internal organs black. In south Florida we have almost wiped malaria out but now the concern -- it's spreading around us and could hit us. As...
    It was a terrible form of malaria that killed two men. Turning their internal organs black. In south Florida we have almost wiped malaria out but now the concern -- it's spreading around us and could hit us. As Patrick...
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Arrest made in case of teen who went missing

    Arrest made in case of teen who went missing

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 10:24 PM EDT2014-08-21 02:24:30 GMT
    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- An arrest was made in the case of a South Florida teen who went missing but was found, Wednesday afternoon.
    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- An arrest was made in the case of a South Florida teen who went missing but was found, Wednesday afternoon.
  • Miami family prays son will be released by ISIS

    Miami family prays son will be released by ISIS

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-08-21 00:10:49 GMT
    PINECREST, Fla. -- A South Florida family is praying that their son, who is allegedly being held by ISIS militants, will be safely released and returned home.
    PINECREST, Fla. -- A South Florida family is praying that their son, who is allegedly being held by ISIS militants, will be safely released and returned home.
  • 20-year-old left paralyzed after home invasion by teens

    20-year-old left paralyzed after home invasion by teens

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 7:02 PM EDT2014-08-20 23:02:50 GMT
    20-year-old Brian Perez20-year-old Brian Perez
    MIAMI -- The mother of a young man is sharing her sorrow and outrage after her son was shot in a barrage of bullets during a home invasion, and police believe those responsible are only 15 years old.
    MIAMI -- The mother of a young man is sharing her sorrow and outrage after her son was shot in a barrage of bullets during a home invasion, and police believe those responsible are only 15 years old.

  • Help Me HowardMore>>

  • $3.3 Million Lien on House

    $3.3 Million Lien on House

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:39 AM EDT2014-08-19 15:39:17 GMT
    The duplex that Victoria Berquist inherited from her parents.The duplex that Victoria Berquist inherited from her parents.
    When her disabled parents died, she inherited their home and a $3.3 million lien they didn't know about. Why? Because they didn't plant some grass and a hedge. Now, is she stuck paying it? It's why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    When her disabled parents died, she inherited their home and a $3.3 million lien they didn't know about. Why? Because they didn't plant some grass and a hedge. Now, is she stuck paying it? It's why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
  • Palms Cut Down

    Palms Cut Down

    Wednesday, August 13 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-08-14 02:46:27 GMT
    You have probably seen it before. FPL sends its crews out to cut the limbs that are in the power lines, but how about this? Cutting down nine palm trees, some in the yard, not near a power line. Can they do this? It's why one South Florida homeowner called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    You have probably seen it before. FPL sends its crews out to cut the limbs that are in the power lines, but how about this? Cutting down nine palm trees, some in the yard, not near a power line. Can they do this? It's why one South Florida homeowner called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
  • Dangerous Dogs

    Dangerous Dogs

    Monday, August 11 2014 11:12 PM EDT2014-08-12 03:12:10 GMT
    Your neighbor's dogs attack and kill your pet. Nothing happens. Then you watch as they attack and nearly kill your other dog, and you are told nothing can be done. Can dogs be allowed to kill other animals? It's why one woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    Your neighbor's dogs attack and kill your pet. Nothing happens. Then you watch as they attack and nearly kill your other dog, and you are told nothing can be done. Can dogs be allowed to kill other animals? It's why one woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Powered by WorldNow

WSVN-TV
Sunbeam Television Corp
1401 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33141

Switchboard: (305) 751-6692
Newsroom: (305) 795-2777

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSVN. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.