The 2020 presidential election is coming up fast and it's important now more than ever to know the resources available to voters. With COVID-19, this election looks a bit different this year — mail will be slower, and polls will have longer lines and more health and safety regulations. Because of this, knowing where to register if you haven't already, checking your registration status, and requesting a vote-by-mail ballot is crucial information to be aware of.
Each state has different links and different websites, so this information primarily pertains to Florida residents.
Registering to vote:
If you are a Florida resident who is not registered to vote, your first step is to visit RegistertoVoteFlorida.gov. There you will provide your personal information such as a home address, party affiliation, citizenship status, among other questions. It's quick and easy and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. A few weeks after you finish it, you will be sent a voter registration card that details your on-record information and your designated polling station.
If you are registering to vote online, by mail, or in person, the deadline is on October 5.
Checking if your registered and updating your information:
It's common for people who have moved or changed party information to forget to update their registration information. In order to do so, visit this website and select your county's link. A new page will populate with your county's supervisor of elections, and you will need to click on the linked web address. For most county sites, there is a box or button towards the top of the screen the says something along the lines of "check my information." It will ask you a few simple questions to find your file and present you with your information.
When reviewing your registration information, check to make sure your current address is correct, your party affiliation is up-to-date, and that your registration is active.
Requesting a vote-by-mail ballot:
Requesting a vote-by-mail ballot in Florida follows almost all of the same steps as checking your voter registration information. Visit this website and select your county's link, and click the web address listed in order to go to your county's election page. Up towards the top, there will likely be a "request a vote-by-mail ballot" option. It will ask you basic information such as your address, birth date, and contact information in order to submit your request.
According to Florida's Division of Elections, "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." Florida's Division of Elections also states that "a returned voted ballot must be received by the Supervisor of Elections' office no later than 7 p.m. (local time) on Election Day."
So, request your vote-by-mail ballot by October 24 and send it back out no later than the evening of Election Day. Obviously, the sooner the better. Every vote matters and it's important to make sure yours is counted.
Checking the status of your vote-by-mail ballot:
Tracking your ballot is a really cool way to make sure your vote is counted. Visit Florida's voter information lookup website and input your information. It'll bring up your general voter information, but towards the top will be a button that says "view vote-by-mail ballot status." Click this and it will provide you with the dates your ballot was requested, when it was mailed to you, and when it was received from you.
The United States Postal Service also provides Informed Delivery, which tracks the location and delivery of your ballot for free.
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This information will hopefully get Floridians started with the voter registration process and filling out their vote-by-mail ballots if needed. Some county websites might be set up slightly differently, but all of the necessary information is reachable on the websites here.
It's time to register, show up, and vote!