Graphic via Desirée Tapia for The Americano Graphic via Desirée Tapia for The Americano

We answer your most frequently asked questions about voting in the Sunshine State, whether in person or by mail.

Encuentra esta información en español AQUÍ.

Whether you’re a first-time voter or an experienced one, you may still have questions about how to make sure your vote is counted come November 3rd. We understand voting can be tricky. But don’t panic! Here’s all you need to know about voting in Florida.

What Day Is Election Day?

November 3, 2020.

How Do I Register to Vote in Florida?

You must:

  • Be a United States citizen of at least 18 years of age and be in possession of your civil rights.
  • Be a Florida resident. 
  • Not have been convicted of a felony without your voting rights having been restored. 
  • Not have been adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting in Florida or any other state without having your right to vote restored. 

What is the deadline to register to vote?

October 5, 2020.

How do I check my voter registration status?

Visit Can I Vote and select “voter registration status.” Then, choose your state. You’ll be taken to a page on your state’s website where you can check to see if you’re registered.

Remember to check your registration information before your state’s deadline to register to vote. That could be up to 30 days before the election. This gives you time if you need to re-register or make changes.

Where can I register to vote in Florida?

  • Voter registration can be done by mail, in person at election offices or the DMV, or online at www.registertovoteflorida.gov
  • You also have the option to submit voter registration information online when you renew your driver’s license online through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ online renewal system. For more information, visit GoRenew.com.
  • Tax collector’s office that issues driver’s licenses or Florida ID cards.
  • Voter registration agency. For more information about who these agencies are, visit our NVRA webpage.
  • Voter registration forms are also available in public libraries and public assistance offices.
  • If you are a military or overseas U.S. citizen, you may register to vote and request a vote-by-mail ballot at the same time by using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). Go to the web page on Military and Overseas Voting for further details.
  • You can download and print a voter registration application form: English | Español

Can I register online to vote in Florida?

Yes, HERE.

How do I register to vote from out of state?

If you intend to vote in Florida, you must first register to vote in the state. Visit the voter registration page of the Florida Division of Elections. 

I did not vote in the last election. Do I need to re-register to vote?

To check your registration status, visit the Voter Information Lookup on the Division’s website or contact your county Supervisor of Elections to verify that you are still registered to vote.

I missed the deadline to register to vote in Florida. What do I do now?

A late registration deadline is available if you (or accompanying family member) have been discharged or separated from the Merchant Marines or armed forces, or from employment outside the territorial United States. The late registration deadline is 5 p.m. on the Friday before election day in the county in which you are to be registered. Contact your Supervisor of Elections for more information and to obtain the form you have to complete.

For information on voter registration deadlines for upcoming elections, visit the Florida Division of Elections Election Dates page.

Absentee or Mail-In Voting

Do I need an excuse to vote absentee (or by mail)?

In Florida, all registered voters are allowed to request a ballot to vote by mail, without having to claim a specific circumstance to do so. In other words, there is no difference between mail-in voting and absentee voting.

How do I vote by mail?

You need to request a vote-by-mail ballot.

How do I request a vote-by-mail ballot?

  • Online through the website of your county Supervisors of Elections’ website (find it HERE)
  • By writing (email, mail or fax) to the Supervisor of Elections of your county (find it HERE)
  • In person at the office of your Supervisor of Elections (find it HERE)
  • By telephone, calling your Supervisor of Elections (find it HERE)

In order to vote by mail, you will need to provide the following information: 

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Signature (if you’re sending a written request)

The mail-in ballot can also be requested by an immediate family member or legal guardian. In that case, besides the information mentioned above, the requester must provide:

  • Requester’s name
  • Requester’s address
  • Requester’s driver’s license number (if available)
  • Requester’s relationship to voter
  • Requester’s signature

All local election offices will accept mailed or hand-delivered forms for mail-in ballots. Your Local Election Office will also let you fax or email the application. 

For more information on mail-in voting in Florida, visit the website of the Florida Division of Elections.

What is the deadline to request a mail-in ballot?

The deadline to request your vote-by-mail ballot is 10 days before the presidential election. This year the deadline is October 24, but waiting that long will mean you have almost no time to send it back.

When will my mail-in ballot arrive?

Election offices are required to send absentee ballots at least 45 days before a federal election. If you requested your ballot by email, the ballot should arrive right away. Mailed ballots will take longer to arrive depending on the postal system of the county where you are located.

How can I ensure my mail-in ballot gets counted?

Your mail-in-vote is due by 7 p.m. on Election Day, which means you should mail it several days in advance to make sure it gets counted, deliver it in person, or drop it at a drop box.

Using a ballot drop box

Another option for delivering your mail-in vote securely is using a ballot drop box. The boxes are locked, anchored in place, and typically under video surveillance or physical protection. Election officials directly collect ballots from these boxes, removing the USPS as a middleman.

Find your nearest secure drop box and/or voting place HERE.

Avoid these mistakes:

The most common mistakes are forgetting to sign the form and sending it late.

Sometimes votes don’t get counted because the ballots arrive after 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. Due to the pandemic, problems in postal offices and long lines have been reported.

If you have decided to vote in person instead of sending your vote by mail, you cannot return your voted mail ballot to a polling place. A recommendation is to bring the vote-by-mail ballot and cancel it at the polls. 

  • Florida mail-in votes must be sent back no later than Tuesday, Oct. 27, a week before Election Day, to make sure they are counted.
  • Ballots that are mailed in toward the end of October, or later, for the Nov. 3 presidential election might not be counted.
  • Vote-by-mail ballots may also be returned at secure drop boxes at the Supervisor of Elections’ main and branch offices, and early voting sites in your county. You need to contact your Supervisor of Elections or visit its website for the location of all vote-by-mail ballot secure drop boxes in the county. Make sure to check the days and hours when you can safely drop off your ballot. 
  • Voters can designate someone they trust to return their ballot.

People who drop off their mail-in ballots at early voting sites need to place them in the return envelope with a signature and date just as if they were placing them in the mail.

Don’t forget to sign!

A Supervisor of Elections is required to notify a voter as soon as it is practical if a voter’s signature is missing or does not match the one on record. Once a voter learns about the missing or mismatched signature, the voter may:

  • Complete and return a “Vote-by-Mail Ballot Cure” Affidavit (Form DS-DE 139: English PDF |Español PDF) with a copy of the voter’s identification.
  • This documentation can be returned by mail, email, fax, or in person. The deadline to submit the form and the ID is no later than 5 p.m. (local time) on the second day after an election. Failure to follow the instructions may cause the ballot not to be counted.
  • Don’t forget to use black ink. If a voter uses another color, the ballot has to go to the Elections Canvassing Board for review.

Is Voting by Mail Safe?

There appears to be no basis for concerns of voter fraud anywhere in the country, but particularly in Florida. 

Daniel Smith, a University of Florida political scientist and one of the nation’s leading experts on voting and election administration, called President Trump’s assertions of widespread mail voting fraud “hogwash” in an interview with the Sun Sentinel. In fact, all available evidence points to it being very rare. The Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., reported only 37 cases of voter fraud in Florida between 1992 and 2018.  

Tammy Patrick, a current senior adviser with Democracy Fund, told NPR in 2018 that those very rare cases don’t outweigh the benefits of a method that makes voting more accessible for so many. 

Early Voting 

How do I vote early in Florida?

By voting early, you’re more likely to avoid long lines and crowds.

The early voting period runs from Saturday, October 24, 2020 to Saturday, October 31, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live. Polling sites will be open for 8 to 12 work days during the early-voting period. 

Voters who want to vote early should present the following at the early voting site:

  • A valid photo identification. Acceptable forms include: Florida driver’s license or ID card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles; US passport; debit or credit card; military ID; student ID; retirement center ID; neighborhood association ID; public assistance ID; veteran health ID issued by the US Department of Veterans Affairs; license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm; or an employee ID card issued by the federal government, the state of Florida, or any county or municipality. If your photo ID does not include your signature, you will be asked to provide another ID that has your signature.
  • Voters without ID: If you are unable to provide ID, you will be able to vote a provisional ballot. Your ballot will count if the signature on your ballot matches the signature on your voter registration record.

Where can I vote early?

For early voting locations, dates, and times visit this page of the Florida Division of Elections.

Voting in Person

Can I take time off to vote?

In Florida, there is no legal obligation for employers to give you time off from work to vote. 

What can I expect at the polling place in terms of voter disenfranchisement?

  • If the polls close while you’re still in line, stay in line – you have the right to vote.
  • If you make a mistake on your ballot, ask for a new one.
  • If the machines are down at your polling place, ask for a paper ballot.
  • A voter may be challenged for a number of reasons at the polls, including the assertion that your legal residential address is not within the precinct. By law, you still have the right to vote. You can still vote a regular ballot if your new address is within the same county and corresponds to the same precinct. You will be asked to complete an address change update before voting.
  • If your new address places you outside the precinct where you were challenged, the poll worker will direct you to the proper precinct.
  • You can also call 1-866-OUR-VOTE and ask for help verifying your proper polling place.
  • If you have moved in from another county, you will be allowed to vote a regular ballot if the new precinct has an electronic poll book instead of paper or you are an active military member. Otherwise, you will vote a provisional ballot. You will still be asked to complete an address change update before voting.
  • If you do not execute the address change or you insist on voting in the precinct that does not correspond to your address, you will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot but your ballot may not count.
  • If you are challenged on any other grounds of your eligibility, you have the right to vote a provisional ballot.
  • If you run into any problems or have questions on Election Day, call the Election Protection Hotline:

English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE / 1-866-687-8683

Spanish: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA / 1-888-839-8682

Where is my polling place?

You can find information related to your polling place HERE. 

What are my options if I am turned away at the polls?

  • If you are turned away or denied a provisional ballot, call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español).
  • Report your experience to local election officials.

Voter ID and Eligibility Questions

Do I need an ID to vote?

Yes. You will be asked to show a valid photo ID with a signature to vote in Florida.

What are the acceptable forms of ID?

Acceptable forms of ID include: Florida driver’s license or ID card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles; US passport; debit or credit card; military ID; student ID; retirement center ID; neighborhood association ID; public assistance ID; veteran health ID issued by the US Department of Veterans Affairs; license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm; or an employee ID card issued by the federal government, the state of Florida, or any county or municipality. If your photo ID does not include your signature, you will be asked to provide another ID that has your signature.

What can I use instead of an ID to vote?

If you are unable to provide ID, you will be able to vote a provisional ballot. Your ballot will count if the signature on your ballot matches the signature on your voter registration record.

Am I eligible to vote in X state?

  • If you would like to vote in another state, you need to contact the election office for your new state for information on how to register to vote there.
  • If you are no longer a resident of Florida, send written notice to the Supervisor of Elections of the county of your former residence to cancel your Florida registration.
  • If the offices of President and Vice-President are on the ballot and you moved to your new state after the state’s registration deadline, you may, unless already removed from the rolls, vote that race only.

Ballot Questions

What’s on my ballot?

You can find what is on your ballot by visiting https://www.vote411.org

Who is running for Senate in Florida?

You can find who are the candidates by district on the Florida Division of Elections site.

Where are my legislative and congressional districts?

You can find your legislative and congressional districts HERE