The Tampa Bay Rays have made it easy to get Florida voter information all in one place, on their Rays Up the Vote Website.
And that website makes clear that we’ve got some important deadlines coming up.
You must register by October 5
First, in order to vote in the November election, you MUST register by October 5. If you are not registered on October 5, you are not voting this year.
The good news: if you have a FL identification card (drivers license or other state-issued ID) you can register online right here.
If you don’t have that state ID number you can still register. But you are going to need to fill out and download this form and mail or hand deliver it to your county elections supervisor, where it must be received by October 5. Check your county’s supervisor of elections website for locations so you can hand deliver that form on Monday!
Don’t forget, if you have moved since you last voted you may need to update your voter information. You can also do that online
If you have a felony conviction and have questions about whether you are eligible to vote, this organization can be helpful.
Consider signing up to vote by mail
Florida makes it easy to vote by mail. Unlike many other states, you do not need an “excuse” to request a mail ballot. You do, however, have to go to your county supervisor of elections website to make the request — there is no statewide form you can use.
There is really no reason NOT to request a mail ballot. You can fill out your ballot at home, sign it, and put it in the mail; your supervisor of elections will allow you to track the ballot on line, and you can see when it was received.
But you don’t HAVE to mail in your ballot. You can fill it out, sign it and drop it off even now at a county elections office. I dropped my ballot of on Tuesday and by yesterday I was able to see online that it was received. So I know my vote has counted.
You can also drop it off at one of your county’s early voting sites beginning on October 19. Or if you decide you want to vote in person you can bring that ballot to a voting site where it will be destroyed while you cast an in-person ballot. Even if you forget to bring that mail ballot with you, you can still vote in person — the clerk will tell you to destroy the mail ballot when you get home.
There are two important things to remember, however, if you are choosing vote by mail. First, your mail ballot must be signed. Do you know how many unsigned ballots are received by the elections supervisors? A LOT.
Secondly, the due date for ballots is November 3 at 7pm — the end of election day. It doesn’t matter when you dropped it in the mail; it matters when it was received. Do you know how many people throw away their votes because they mail their ballots too close to election day? A LOT. If you intend to mail your ballot, you should request it by October 10 (the deadline is later, but we know better) and make sure it is posted by October 27. If October 27 comes around and that ballot is still sitting on your kitchen table, consider voting in person.