Florida elections, 2013
- See also: Absentee Voting
All voters are eligible to vote absentee in Florida. There are no special eligibility requirements for voting absentee. An excuse is only required if a voter waits until Election Day to pick up or have delivered the absentee ballot.
To vote absentee, an absentee ballot application must be received by the election office at least six days prior to the election. A returned absentee ballot must then be received by the elections office by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.
Military and overseas voting
For full details regarding military and overseas voting, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
- See also: Early voting
Florida is one of 34 states that has early voting with no specific requirements as to who can vote early. Early voting begins at least 10 days before an election and ends three days prior to Election Day. The average number of days prior to an election that voters can cast an early ballot is 21 days in states with a definitive starting date.
Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R), who sponsored the 2011 law that reduced the number of early voting days in Florida, authored a bill which would provide increased early voting opportunities.
The proposal was to give counties an extra day for early voting before a general election and allow them to keep polls open for 14 hours. In addition, the bill required all elections supervisors to submit a report three months prior to a general election, outlining preparations for that election.
In addition, Florida's election supervisors asked the legislature for the following changes with respect to early voting:
- Require that the Legislature comply with the 75-word ballot summary requirement that is required for citizen-led ballot initiatives (Lawmakers exempted themselves from that requirement years ago, and ordered the full text of several amendments to be on the November ballot, a leading contributor to long lines at polling places).
- Require eight days of early voting in primary and general elections "with the option for supervisors to provide additional days not to exceed 14 days." (In 2011 the legislature reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to 8).
- Give election supervisors the leeway to select more early voting sites (currently limited to election offices, city halls and libraries).
In 2011, the Republican-controlled legislature cut the number of early voting days from 12 to eight. However, due to a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the counties of Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough, and Monroe would retain their full 12 days of early voting. That is because these counties are covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The Justice Department has since agreed with the state's early voting schedule provided that the five counties must offer 96 hours of voting between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. over eight days, the maximum under the law. Both the counties and the state have agreed to the terms, so the case should now be thrown out.
- Florida Division of Elections Website, "Absentee Voting," accessed December 18, 2013
- Florida Division of Elections Website, "Early Voting," accessed December 18, 2013
- SunSentinel.com, "2011 elex law sponsor files bill to change early voting," January 7, 2013
- Miami Herald, "Election supervisors want up to 14 early voting days," January 10, 2012
- Reuters, "Florida restores early voting days, moves back primary," May 3, 2013
- The New York Times, "Court Approves Schedule for Florida Early Voting," September 13, 2012