St. PETERSBURG — All voters have until Saturday Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. to ask their Supervisor of Elections office to send them a vote-by-mail in the November 8 midterm election. Early voting also begins statewide Saturday, Oct. 29.
“Our democracy is strongest when every eligible voter can cast a ballot freely and fairly,” said Amy Keith, program director for Common Cause Florida. “We know we all plan to vote, but sometimes life happens and we’re not able to get to the polls before they close. Voting by mail ensures no matter what happens in our lives on Election Day, we can still make our voices heard.”
All Florida voters can check their voter registration status here and find their local election office to request a vote-by-mail ballot here.
“Voting by mail is an increasingly popular way to cast a ballot because it is safe, secure, and accessible for voters of all parties and backgrounds. Just as we did in 2020, we’ll continue to come together across race and place to make our voices heard using vote by mail,” Amy Keith said.
To make sure your vote is counted, make sure your vote-by-mail ballot is received by your county elections office by 7 p.m. Nov. 8, Election Day. Common Cause Florida suggests mailing back your signed ballot as soon as possible or dropping your signed ballot off in a Secure Ballot Intake Station, which are available at county elections offices and early voting sites during hours of operation. Once you return your ballot, you can track it using the online trackers provided by most Florida counties.
In part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, national voting by mail participation surged in 2020, with nearly 70% of voters casting a ballot by mail or before Election Day. In 2016, just 40% of voters cast a ballot by mail or ahead of Election Day. Nationally in 2020, those who chose to cast a ballot by mail or ahead of Election Day trended older, college educated, and identified as Asian American.
There are three different ways that registered Florida voters can vote: by mail, in-person at early voting sites in their county, or in-person at their assigned polling location on Nov. 8, Election Day.
Voters who have any questions about the voting process or encounter problems can contact the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.
Those who choose to vote by mail must:
• Request a vote-by-mail ballot through their county Supervisor of Elections office.
• Sign the back of the ballot envelope.
• Make sure the ballot is received by their county elections office by 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 8. (postmark date is not enough)
If there is a problem with the voter’s signature on their vote-by-mail ballot, the voter has until 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10 to submit the paperwork to correct their signature.
Note: Common Cause Florida recommends mailing in ballots at least 10 days in advance or dropping signed ballots off in Secure Ballot Intake Stations available at county elections offices and early voting sites during hours of operation. Voters can check to see if their ballots were received in the mail through online trackers provided by most county supervisor of elections’ offices.
People can also vote early in-person at county early voting sites.
• Statewide early voting is between Saturday, Oct. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 5, though some counties have early voting beginning Oct. 24 and running through Nov. 6. Voters can look up early voting locations, dates and times through their county elections office here.
• Voters can use any early voting site in their county to vote in-person or drop vote-by-mail ballots in Secure Ballot Intake Stations.
Those who want to vote in-person on Tuesday, Nov. 8, Election Day must:
• Bring valid (non-expired) photo/signature ID.
• Vote at the correct precinct for their current residence. Voters can look up their precincts here.
• Arrive at the polls during voting hours. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• Any voter in line to vote at 7 p.m. must be allowed to vote.
Voters in Charlotte, Lee and Sarasota counties can find information about voting changes in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian here. Common Cause Florida has also prepared a frequently asked questions document to support voters affected by Hurricane Ian. Any voters displaced by Hurricane Ian are strongly encouraged to call their Supervisor of Elections office to determine their voting options and ensure their ballot counts.