What is Vote-by-Mail
Vote-by-mail refers to voting a ballot received by mail or picked up by or for a voter instead of going to the polls to vote during early voting period or Election Day. Except on Election Day, no excuse is needed to vote a vote-by-mail ballot (see Who Can Pick Up a Vote-by-Mail Ballot below). Unless otherwise specified, a request to receive a vote-by-mail ballot covers all elections through the end of the calendar year for the second ensuing regularly scheduled general election. A vote-by-mail ballot that is returned undeliverable cancels a request for future elections and must be renewed.
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 6th 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.
Who Can Pick Up a Vote-by-Mail Ballot
A voter can pick up or have delivered his or her own vote-by-mail ballot at any time the ballot becomes available, including up to 7 p.m. on Election Day. A voter can authorize in writing for someone else to pick up the voter’s ballot. The designee must submit an affidavit to pick-up a ballot for a voter. The earliest a designee can pick up the voter’s ballot is five days before Election Day. If no record of a request exists, the voter will also have to submit a request. A designee is limited to picking up vote-by-mail ballots for two other voters per elections (not including his or her own ballot and the ballots for immediate family members). Form DS-DE 37 (English PDF/ Español PDF) is the form used for the written designation, the affidavit for ballot pick-up, and the request for a vote -by-mail ballot.
If a voter or designee waits until Election Day to pick up or have delivered a vote-by-mail ballot, the Election Day Vote-by-Mail Ballot Delivery Affidavit (DS-DE 136 - English PDF/ Español PDF) must also be completed. The voter must affirm that an emergency exists that keeps the voter from being able to vote at his or her assigned polling place.
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.
How to Correct a Missing or Mismatched Signature on Your Vote-by-Mail Ballot
If a voter is notified that he or she did not sign a vote-by-mail ballot certificate or that the signature on the certificate does not match the signature on record, 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 identification. The deadline to submit the form and the ID is no later than 5 p.m. on the day before an election. Failure to follow the instructions may cause the ballot not to be counted.
How to Track Your Vote-by-Mail Ballot Request and Returned Ballot
Any voter who has requested a vote-by-mail ballot can track online the status of his or her ballot through a link within the Division of Elections' Voter Information Lookup or through their county Supervisor of Elections' website. If a voter’s registration information is protected pursuant to section 119.071(2), (4), or (5), Florida Statutes, or the voter is a participant in the Attorney General Office’s Address Confidentiality Program, the voter will need to contact the Supervisor of Elections’ office about the status of the vote-by-mail ballot and request.