This morning, I hit the snooze on the alarm clock, stretched, put on some comfy slippers, and performed my most fundamental right as an American citizen– I voted!
Election Day is almost two weeks away, but Floridians don’t have to wait to make their voices heard in our democracy. You can vote easily and confidently now.
After the long lines that many voters had to wait in on Election Day in 2012, many Floridians are choosing to take advantage of the different, simpler options that are available for them to vote: early voting and voting by mail. Here’s what voters need to know to take advantage of these choices.
Perhaps the easiest way for you to vote this year is by mail. A record number of Floridians in many counties are taking advantage of absentee voting this year, and for good reason. Absentee voting allows you to vote securely on your own time, without needing to take time off work or travel to your polling location.
If you choose to vote by mail in this election, there are a few things you should remember. Firstly, the Supervisor of Elections must receive your request by no later than October 29th. You can request an absentee ballot from your county’s Supervisor of Elections in writing, in person, by phone or, easiest of all, online. Just visit your county’s Supervisor of Elections’ website, and follow the instructions there.
When you receive your absentee ballot, the instructions for completing the ballot will be included with the ballot. Once you’ve filled out the ballot, be sure to sign the certificate with the ballot before placing it in the mail (but even if you miss this step, don’t worry, you will still have the opportunity to correct the omission by completing and returning this form).
Your ballot must be returned and received by the Supervisor of Elections no later than 7:00 p.m. on Election Day (with special exceptions for Military and Overseas voters), but once you’ve sent in your ballot that’s it – you’re done voting, and all from the comfort of your own home.
The other option to make your voice heard before Election Day is early voting. A 2013 change in state law gave Supervisors of Elections discretion to expand early voting beyond a minimum number of days, so as a result, some counties already have early voting. Find out what days and times early voting is available for your county.
Unlike on Election Day, when you must vote at your precinct, you can vote early at any early voting location in your county. Here’s an easy tool that lets you enter your zip code and find the nearest early voting locations in the county where you’re registered to vote. Don’t forget to bring an approved photo ID with you when you vote.
Knowing how to vote early will help all Floridians avoid the long lines and headaches and exercise their most fundamental freedom – the right to vote.