Voting in Florida
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Voting in 2013 Primaries • Voting on November 5, 2013
Poll Opening and Closing Times
Absentee voting • Early voting
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To vote in Florida, you must be 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States of America and a legal resident of Florida and of the county where you intend to vote. You can pre-register on or after your 16th birthday and may vote in any election held on or after that your 18th birthday.
You must also not meet any of the following conditions:
- Adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting unless that right has been restored.
- A convicted felon unless you have your right to vote restored.
- Not a citizen of the United States of America. (A lawful permanent resident cannot register or vote in Florida.)
When and where
Voter registration applications can be obtained at your local Supervisor of Elections' office, the Division of Elections, any federal and state-designated voter registration agency (i.e., any office that issues driver licenses or serves persons with disabilities, any armed forces recruitment office, and any public library), and other public locations (e.g., shops that issue fishing and hunting licenses). The form is also available online from the Division of Elections website here
Registration forms must be filled out at least 29 days prior to the election you wish to vote in. Identification is required to register.
As of December 2013, Florida is one of the 37 states that have not implemented online voter registration.
Voting on election day
Photo and signature identification is required to vote on election day. The following are acceptable forms of identification:
- Florida driver license
- Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway, Safety and Motor Vehicles
- United States passport
- Debit or credit card
- Military identification
- Student identification
- Retirement center identification
- Neighborhood association identification or
- Public assistance identification.
- See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times
All voters are eligible to vote absentee in Florida. There are no special eligibility requirements for voting absentee.
To vote absentee, an absentee ballot application must be received by the election office at least 6 days prior to the election. A returned absentee ballot must then be received by the elections office by 7 p.m. on election day.
Military and overseas voting
For full details, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program here.
Florida is one of 33 states that has early voting with no specific requirements as to who can vote early. Early voting begins 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, the man 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 newest early voting proposal would 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 would require 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 have 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 8. 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 Voter guide
- 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
- The New York Times, "Court Approves Schedule for Florida Early Voting," September 13, 2012