South Florida, please take advantage of your constitutional right to vote in 2020! Now is the time to ensure that you and your families are registered to vote before November 3rd. If you have questions about the voting process or how to register, check out some information we’ve gathered from the Florida Division of Elections and the Florida Association of Counties.
Deadline to Register (Book Closing)
Eligible individuals can register to vote at any time. Click here to register to vote online. The deadline to register in order to participate in an upcoming election is 29 days before the election. The registration deadlines for 2020 are:
- Presidential Preference Primary Election: February 18*
- Primary Election: July 20
- General Election: October 5
*Due to federal holiday, the deadline moved from Monday, February 17 to Tuesday, February 18.
How to Request a Vote-by-Mail Ballot Be Mailed
A request for a vote-by-mail ballot may be made in one of the following ways:
- Online application on your county Supervisors of Elections’ website;
- In writing (e.g., by email, fax, mail) to Supervisor of Elections;
- In person at Supervisor of Elections;
- By telephone call to Supervisor of Elections.
To make a request, the following information is required:
- The name of the voter for whom the ballot is being requested;
- The voter's address;
- The voter's date of birth; and
- The voter's signature (if the request is written).
If an immediate family member or legal guardian is requesting a vote-by-mail ballot for a voter, the following additional information must be provided:
- The requestor's address;
- The requestor's driver's license number (if available);
- The requestor's relationship to the voter; and
- The requestor's signature (if the request is written).
The deadline to request that a vote-by-mail ballot be mailed is no later than 5 p.m. on the 10th day before the election. However, the ballot must still be received by the Supervisor of Elections no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day if the voted ballot is to count. Exceptions exist for overseas military and civilian voters. See Military and Overseas Citizens Voting for further information.
How to Vote a Vote-by-Mail Ballot
Instructions are included with the vote-by-mail ballot. The voted ballot must be returned and received by the Supervisor of Elections no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day. Other return options are available for Military and Overseas Voters. If the voter decides to go to the polls to vote instead voting by mail, the voter should bring the vote-by-mail ballot (marked or not). The vote-by-mail ballot will be canceled and the voter can vote a regular ballot at the polls. If the voter comes to the polls without the vote-by-mail ballot, the voter can vote a regular ballot if the supervisor of elections’ office can confirm that it has not received the voter’s vote-by-mail ballot. If it is confirmed that the supervisor of elections office has received the vote-by-mail ballot or it cannot be determined, the voter cannot vote a regular ballot at the polls. However, if a voter believes that he or she has not already voted, he or she shall be allowed to vote a provisional ballot.
A vote-by-mail voter may drop off a voted vote-by-mail ballot at a designated secure drop box at early voting sites in the election. Please contact the county Supervisor of Elections or refer to their website for the location of all the vote-by-mail ballot secure drop boxes in your county.
Vote-by-Mail Ballot 'Send' Deadline
For vote-by-mail ballot requests on record, state law requires that the ballots be sent during specified timeframes.
For absent stateside and overseas uniformed service member and overseas civilian voters (also known as UOCAVA voters), Supervisors of Elections send the ballots no later than 45 days before an election. The send periods for 2020 are:
- Presidential Preference Primary Election: February 1
- Primary Election: July 4
- General Election: September 19
For domestic voters, Supervisors of Elections send the ballots during a 7-day window between 40 and 33 days before an election. The send periods for 2020 are:
- Presidential Preference Primary Election: February 6 – 13
- Primary Election: July 9 - July 16
- General Election: September 24 – October 1
Early Voting Period
By law, early voting must be held at least for 8 days. The mandatory early voting periods for 2020 are:
- Presidential Preference Primary Election: March 7 – 14
- Primary Election: August 8 – 15
- General Election: October 24 – 31
Each county Supervisor of Elections may offer more days of early voting from one or more of the following days:
- Presidential Preference Primary Election: March 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 15
- Primary Election: August 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 16
- General Election: October 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and November 1
Check with your county Supervisor of Elections for the additional days of early voting that may be offered in your county.
Amendment 4 was designed to automatically restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences. Sentences include prison, parole, and probation. As of 2018, people with prior felonies never regain the right to vote in Florida, until and unless a state board restores an individual's voting rights. Under Gov. Rick Scott's (R) administration, convicted felons must wait five or seven years, depending on the type of offense, after the completion of their sentences to request that the board consider the restoration of their voting and other civil rights
As of 2018, Florida is one of four states where convicted felons do not regain the right to vote, until and unless a state officer or board restores an individual's voting rights. This felon voting law was part of the original Florida Constitution of 1968—the state constitution active in 2018—as well as the state constitutions of 1885 and 1868. On February 1, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker ruled Florida's process for the restoration of voting abilities for felons unconstitutional, saying it violated the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment.
The exact ballot summary language reads:
"This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis."
A Presidential Primary Election is held on the third Tuesday of March in a presidential election year. The Primary Election is held 11 weeks before the General Election for purposes of nominating party nominees to be voted for in the General Election to fill a national, state, county, or district office. A General Election is held in November of every even-numbered year. The election dates for 2020 are:
- Presidential Preference Primary Election: March 17
- Primary Election: August 18
- General Election: November 3
Note: Special elections may be called at any time during the year. Local elections may also be held throughout the year. Check the Local Elections Database which contain dates as reported by the county for elections (county-specific, municipal, special district, or other local election) scheduled within one county. Contact your county Supervisor of Elections for the most up-to-date information.