By Joan Murray

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The general election is two weeks away, but already canvassing boards in Broward and Miami-Dade are hard at work making sure that every vote already cast is counted.

CBS 4’s Joan Murray took a look inside the process to show us the critical role the canvassing board plays in the outcome.

“The goal is a full and accurate count,“ says Broward Commissioner Michael Udine, who is a member of the Broward County Canvassing Board.

Udine, the supervisor oF elections and a county judge make up the board for this election cycle.

Wednesday, the three met for over an hour at the equipment center in Lauderhill to review hundreds of questionable mail-in ballots.

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The most common issues they encounter include: more than one candidate selected,
a checkmark instead of filling in the circle and the questionable write-in candidate.

Mickey Mouse got two votes.

“If someone circles in 2 bubbles that vote gets tossed, but the rest of the ballot
counts, but the questionable one is thrown out,” said Udine.

The process is similar in Miami-Dade where the canvassing board is made up of the supervisor of elections and two judges.

That board has been meeting every other day.

They looked at 300 ballots Wednesday.

“Sometimes we have to go one by one to make sure candidates are receiving the votes they should,” said Elections Supervisor Christina White

That’s what happened two years ago when Broward’s canvassing board put their stamp
on a manual recount for the close US Senate race between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Bill Nelson.

The canvassing board also looks at questionable signatures on mail-in ballots and
corrected ballots missing signatures.

“They will go thru them and bring us back the affidavits.”

For some, the mere mention of a canvassing board conjures up those images from 2000, when South Florida canvassing boards pored over hanging chads to figure the voters’

Fast forward to 2020 and now, there are electronic machines at polling sites and that has improved accuracy but mail-in ballots can be a challenge.

“There are lawyers from the Trump campaign the Biden campaign. Our goal is
an open and transparent process.”