Hello Manatee County Voter,
Over the past 20 years voting by mail (VBM) has become a popular and common way to cast a ballot. During the 2022 General Election, 44 percent of Manatee County voters cast their ballots by mail as opposed to voting in person at an early voting location or at a designated precinct on Election Day.
Voting by mail has gained popularity because it is a safe and convenient way to cast your ballot. It allows voters to avoid potential Election Day obstacles like long lines, bad weather or work delays. Voting by mail also gives voters more time to consider issues and candidates with their ballot in hand, rather than feeling rushed at the polling place.
For many years, Manatee County voters who have voted by mail have become accustomed to automatically receiving a ballot in the mail. When enrolling in our VBM directory, you were opting in to receiving a mail ballot for future elections, with the understanding that you could cast a mail ballot or vote in person if you ever chose to.
However, that process is changing as a result of a new state law.
In 2021 the Florida Legislature passed SB 90 which “limits the duration of requests for vote-by-mail ballots to all elections through the end of the calendar year of the next regularly scheduled general election.”
When that bill became law, all vote by mail requests that local elections offices around the state had on record expired in 2022. Now Florida voters will need to make a new request to receive a VBM ballot for 2024 and following each General Election every two years.
While the new process may seem like an inconvenience, it will ensure that voters stay regularly engaged in their voting preferences and it will help our office keep more accurate records of local voters’ address information.
The good news is that requesting a VBM ballot remains a simple and safe process. You can make your VBM request by visiting www.votemantee.gov/VBM or by calling our office at (941) 741-3823 and pressing 1. The VBM request requires the voter to provide their name, date of birth and either last four digits of their social security number or a valid Florida driver’s license or Florida identification card.
This fall, those who have requested a mail ballot in the past can expect to see a notice in either your mailbox or email inbox explaining these changes and how to go about requesting a new VBM ballot. We are also attempting to reach voters with this news via the news media, social media and through public speaking engagements.
We are making this effort to inform voters of an important update they may not have already known about and in hopes that many will request a VBM ballot before it becomes too late to do so, leaving people the option only to vote in person at an early voting location or at a designated precinct on Election Day.
Thank you for understanding and for your cooperation in the new process. As always, if you have any questions about your Vote By Mail ballot, or your voter registration, please contact us at (941) 741-3823, by emailing Info@VoteManatee.gov, or by visiting www.VoteManatee.gov.
Manatee County Supervisor of Elections