*Click here for Vote By Mail Ballot Request Form
What is Vote-by-Mail?
Vote-by-Mail refers to voting a ballot received by mail or picked up by or for a voter who is unable or unwilling to go to the polls to vote during early voting or Election Day. A voter does not have to be absent from the county of residence or have an excuse in order to vote-by-mail except on Election Day (see details below). A request covers all elections through the end of the calendar year for the second ensuing regularly scheduled general election. A voter, the voter's immediate family or legal guardian may request a vote-by-mail ballot in person, by mail or by telephone. One request can cover all elections through the next two regularly scheduled general elections.
How to Request a Vote-by-Mail Ballot
A request for a vote-by-mail ballot may be made in one of the following ways:
Online application - County Supervisor 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
If you would like to have a vote-by-mail ballot mailed to you, all requests must be received by 5 p.m. on the tenth day before an election. (The Saturday before a Tuesday election) The person requesting a vote-by-mail ballot must disclose:
- The name of the voter for whom the ballot is requested;
- The voter’s address;
- The voter’s date of birth;
- The requester’s name;
- The requester’s address;
- The requester’s driver’s license number, if available;
- The requester’s relationship to the voter; and,
- The requester’s signature (written request only).
Marked ballots must be received at the Office of the Supervisor of Elections, 600 301 Boulevard West, Suite 108, Bradenton, not later than 7 p.m. on the day of the election. Do not return your voted vote-by-mail ballot to a polling place.
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 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. A voter can also authorize in writing a designee to pick up the ballot for him or her but the earliest the designee can then pick up the ballot is 9 days before Election Day. A designee is limited to picking up two vote-by-mail ballots per elections (not including his or her own ballot and ballots for immediate family members. Immediate family includes: spouse, parents, child, grandparents, siblings of the voter or the voter's spouse or the voter's legal guardian). Additionally, a designee must submit a completed Affidavit to Pick-up a Vote-by-Mail Ballot for a Voter (DS-DE 37), which includes the written authorization from the Voter. If there is no request on record, the voter will also have to submit the request part of the Affidavit.
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) must also be completed in which the voter affirms that he or she has as an emergency that keeps the voter from being able to go to his or her assigned polling place instead to vote.
How to Vote a Vote-by-Mail Ballot
Instructions for completing the vote-by-mail ballot are included with the ballot. The voted ballot must be returned and received by the Supervisor of Elections office no later than 7:00 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, the voter should bring the vote-by-mail ballot (whether or not it has been marked). Even if the voter comes to the polls without the vote-by-mail ballot, the voter will still be able to vote a regular ballot if the supervisor of elections' office is able to confirm that it has not received the voter's vote-by-mail. However, if it is confirmed that the voter has already voted a vote-by-mail ballot, the voter cannot vote again at the polls. If the voter believes or insists that the supervisor of elections' office is wrong about receiving the vote-by-mail ballot or if the supervisor of elections' office cannot confirm that the voter has already voted a vote-by-mail ballot, the voter is allowed to vote a provisional ballot.
How to Correct a Missing Signature on Your Vote-by-Mail Ballot
If you forgot to sign your certificate with the returned vote-by-mail ballot, you may still have the opportunity to correct the omission by completing and returning an Omitted Signature Affidavit for Vote-by-Mail Ballot (DS-DE 139), with a copy of your identification. The deadline to submit the Affidavit, however is no later than 5:00 p.m. on the second day after the election. Failure to follow the instructions carefully may cause your ballot not to count.
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. To track your Manatee County Vote-by-Mail ballot click here.
Military and Overseas Citizens Voting Information
The following information applies if you are a United States uniformed services member on active duty, a Merchant Marine member, spouse or dependent thereof, or a United States citizen residing outside of the United States.
Registration and Vote-by-Mail Ballot Request
You may register to vote and request a vote-by-mail ballot at the same time by using a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You may obtain the FPCA fro any Voting Assistance Officer or from the Federal Voting Assistance Program website. You may also call or request by mail, fax, or email to your county Supervisor of Elections that a voter registration application or a vote-by-mail ballot be sent to you. Unless you designate otherwise, your request for vote-by-mail ballot is valid for all elections through the end of the calendar year for the second ensuing regularly scheduled general election.
Mailing and Tracking of Vote-by-Mail Ballots
Supervisors of Elections must mail vote-by-mail ballots to military and overseas citizens no later than 45 days before each election; however, you may request that your vote-by-mail ballot be faxed or e-mailed to you. If you include an email address with your vote-by-mail ballot request, you will be notified by email that your request has been received. You will also be given the estimated date the ballot will be sent to you and let you know when your ballot is received.
You may track your vote-by-mail ballot request and ballot online click here.
If it is near to Election Day and you still have not received your requested vote-by-mail ballot, immediately contact the Supervisor of Elections office.
Extra Time for Return of Vote-by-Mail Ballots for Certain Elections
For presidential preference primary elections and general elections only and by operation of section 100.191, F.S., special elections and special primary elections, an overseas voter's vote-by-mail ballot postmarked or dated by Election Day and received within 10 days of the elections shall be counted provided the ballot is otherwise proper.
Additional Information and Resources
Further information about the FPCA can be found at the Federal Voting Assistance Program's website at fvap.gov/florida.