Attention "Vote By Mail" (Absentee) Voters:
If you plan to "Vote By Mail" in the upcoming elections, please be sure you have a valid request on file with our office. For more information call (941) 833-5400.
Who Can "Vote By Mail"
All qualified voters are permitted to "Vote By Mail" under Florida law. The voter is not required to give a reason.
(see sections 97.021(1) and 101.62, Florida Statutes)
How to "Vote By Mail"
A voter, or, if directly instructed by the voter, a member of the voter's immediate family or the voter's legal guardian, may request a "Vote By Mail" ballot from the Supervisor of Elections in person at the main office at 226 Taylor St., Punta Gorda, by mail, by telephone or online though this website. “Immediate family” means the voter’s spouse or the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling of the voter or of the voter’s spouse. One request can cover all elections through the next two general elections. 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 voter's Florida Driver's License number, Florida State ID number, or the last four digits of their Social Security number;
- The requester's name;
- The requester's address;
- The requester's Florida Driver's License number, Florida State ID number, or the last four digits of their Social Security number.
- The requester's relationship to the voter; and,
- The requester's signature (written request only).
The deadline to request that a VBM ballot be mailed is no later than 5pm on the 10th day before the election. “Vote by Mail” ballots will be mailed by non-forwardable mail to the voter’s current mailing address on file with the Supervisor, or any other address the elector specifies in the request. BALLOTS ARE NOT FORWARDABLE.
“Vote by Mail” ballots for voters covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act must be sent by forwardable mail, fax, or e-mail as specified by the voter in the request.
A voter may pick up his or her Vote by Mail ballot at any time after the ballots are printed, up to the day before the election at the SOE main office at 226 Taylor St., Punta Gorda, no later than 5 p.m. However, on Election Day, a voter must submit an "Election Day Vote By Mail Affidavit" to receive a VBM ballot.
A designee may pick up a “Vote by Mail” ballot for a voter up to 9 days before Election Day, but not on Election Day unless an "Election Day Vote By Mail Affidavit" is submitted. A designee may only pick up two blank “Vote by Mail” ballots per election, other than his or her own ballot or ballots for members of his or her immediate family.
Designees must have written authorization from the voter, present a picture I.D., and sign an affidavit.
Voted “Vote by Mail” ballots must be mailed, or delivered in person, reaching the Supervisor of Elections’ main office in Punta Gorda no later than 7 p.m. on the day of the election. A VBM ballot may be dropped off at any one of our three early voting locations during the early voting period, but it may not be returned and processed at an Election Day voting location.
If you have obtained a “Vote by Mail” ballot, but want to vote in your precinct on Election Day, you do not need to take the VBM ballot with you to the polls. You can, however, bring it with you and inform the Clerk that you have it. The VBM ballot will be deactivated, and you can use it as a "Sample Ballot."
(See sections 101.62 and 101.69, Florida Statutes)
Can I have my "Vote By Mail" Ballot sent to a PO Box?
Yes, you can have your "Vote By Mail" ballot sent to any valid mailing address, including a friend, neighbor or PO Box.
How long is a Vote By Mail Request valid for?
A Vote By Mail Ballot request is valid for two (2) election cycles. For example, if your request is made prior to or on November 7, 2018, it will cover the 2018 election cycle and the next 2020 election cycle. If the request is made after November 8, 2018, it will cover the elections for the 2020 and 2022 cycles.
What is the difference between a "Vote By Mail" Ballot and an Absentee Ballot?
They are the same.
When will "Vote by Mail" ballots be mailed out to voters?
For domestic voters, the initial batch of vote by mail ballots will be mailed out between the 40th and 33rd days prior to an election to those voters who have already requested them. Subsequent mailings will be mailed out on a daily basis as new requests are received.
Vote by mail ballots for Military and Overseas citizens will be mailed no later than 45 days in advance of the election.
How are "Vote By Mail" Ballots processed?
Diagram of the "Vote By Mail" process.
Can I pick up a "Vote By Mail" Ballot from your office for another voter?
Delivery of a ballot by designee, also known as the "9 DAY RULE"
The following MUST be provided in WRITING before an absentee ballot can be provided to a designee.
- Elector’s (voter) Name
- Elector’s(voter) Date of Birth
- Elector’s(voter) Address
- Elector’s(voter) Signature
- Designee’s Name
- Designee’s Signature
- Photo ID of Designee
- Election Name (ex. Primary or General etc.)
- Affidavit of Authorization (DS-DE 37)
Ballots may NOT be provided to any designee prior to the 9 day rule. Any absentee requests provided prior to the 9 day rule will be mailed to the voter.
By delivery to a designee on Election Day or up to 9 days prior to the day of election. Any elector may designate in writing a person to pick up the ballot for the elector; however, the person designated may not pick up more than two (2) absentee ballots per election, other than the designee’s own ballot, except additional ballots may be picked up for the members of the designee’s immediate family. For purposes of this section, “immediate family” means the designee’s spouse or the parent, child, grandparent, or sibling of the designee or of the designee’s spouse. The designee shall provide to the supervisor the written authorization by the elector and a picture identification of the designee and must complete an affidavit (DS-DE 37). The designee shall state in the affidavit that the designee is authorized by the elector to pick up that ballot and shall indicate if the elector is a member of the designee’s immediate family and, if so, the relationship. If the supervisor is satisfied that the designee is authorized to pick up the ballot and that the signature of the elector on the written authorization matches the signature of the elector on file, the supervisor shall give the ballot to that designee for the delivery to the elector.
Can I pick up a ballot on the day of an election?
The supervisor may not deliver a Vote by Mail ballot to an elector or an elector’s immediate family member on the day of the election unless there is an emergency, to the extent that the elector will be unable to go to his or her assigned polling place. If a Vote by Mail ballot is delivered, the elector or his or her designee shall execute an affidavit affirming to the facts which allow for delivery of the Vote by Mail ballot.
ELECTION DAY VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT DELIVERY AFFIDAVIT(DS-DE 136)
How to Correct a Missing or Mismatched Signature on Your Vote By Mail Ballot
If you returned your Vote By Mail ballot to your supervisor of elections, but forgot to sign the ballot or have been notified that the signature on your Vote By Mail ballot does not match the signature on file with our office, your ballot will not count unless you complete and return the Cure Affidavit For Vote-By-Mail Ballot no later than 5 pm on the second day after the election. Please follow the instructions on the form carefully, as failure to follow these instructions may cause your ballot not to count.
Early Voting and Absentee reports can be found on the Florida Division of Elections website