OurSeniors are famous for being the most dependable voting bloc in America. Time after time, America’s seniors lead the league in voting turnout. All politicians know this, and they pay careful attention to the issues that concern seniors. Nowhere is this more important than in the state of Florida, the most senior state in the nation.
Tuesday, August 23 will be election day in 2022. If you are a registered voter in the Democrat or Republican Party, you can vote in that party’s primary election, and it is very important that you do so! These primaries narrow down the choices available to you in the general election coming in November.
There has been a lot of news (and confusion) about changes to election laws since the 2020 election. Many people are under the impression that voting by mail has been banned, but this is not true. Absentee ballots or “vote-by-mail” ballots are commonly used by seniors and others who have difficulty getting to the polls on Election Day. They remain an important way of casting your ballot.
Each state has control over its election laws. Florida law allows for three ways of voting: Election Day voting, early voting, and absentee ballots or “vote-by-mail” voting. Most voters still show up at the polls on Election Day, but early voting and vote-by-mail voting has become more popular, especially with seniors.
On Election Day, throughout Florida the polls are open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM local time. If you are in line by 7:00 PM, you will be allowed to vote. On Election Day, registered voters are required to vote at the assigned precinct of their legal residence. Contact your county Supervisor of Elections’ Office to find your precinct. Florida law requires all persons appearing to vote in person to provide both a photo ID and signature identification. If the photo ID does not contain a signature, you will be asked to provide an additional identification which does so. Common approved forms of picture & signature identification are a Florida driver’s license, a Florida identification card (issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles), and United States passports. Click here to see all forms of accepted identification.
Early Voting is a period immediately before Election Day. Each county Supervisor of Elections’ Office determines the dates for early voting in that county. However, there is no early voting allowed on the last day before Election Day. The early voting period may vary between counties, but it is typically a week-long period such as August 13 through August 20. Polls are generally open 10 AM to 6 PM. During early voting, you must vote in your county, but you are not required to vote in your precinct. If you are out shopping and a polling place is at hand, you may conveniently vote there.
NOTE: If you arrive at a polling place and do not have the required ID documents, you may cast a provisional ballot. This ballot will be kept by election officials and counted when you produce the needed documents at your county Supervisor of Elections’ Office.
The third method of voting, the absentee or the vote-by-mail ballot is very popular with seniors. It is a great convenience for people who have mobility issues or cannot stand in lines for long periods. Several states have passed laws that restrict absentee voting, but Florida remains very open to this senior-friendly practice. Florida law allows all registered voters to vote by mail. However, there have been some changes.
If you voted by mail in the last (2020) election, you should automatically receive a 2022 vote-by-mail ballot from your county Supervisor of Elections’ Office. Past requests to receive a vote-by-mail ballot have covered all elections through the end of that calendar year and for the next scheduled election. Those ballots should be received soon; if you are in any doubt, check with your county Supervisor of Elections’ Office ASAP to verify that you will receive this ballot.
In 2021, the legislature passed a law requiring all voters to request mail-in ballots every two years instead of every four. This will not affect voters this cycle but depending on when your first vote-by-mail ballot was cast, it may be necessary to sign up again next year to vote by mail in the 2024 elections. If you have been voting by mail and your address has changed since the last election, you should contact your county Supervisor of Elections’ Office. Vote-by-mail ballots are not forwarded to new addresses. They must be delivered to the registered address.
If you are already a registered voter and need to request a vote-by-mail ballot for the first time or if you have changed address, you have until 5:00 pm on August 13th (10 days before Election Day) to request a new ballot. Click here for instructions to do this. After you receive your ballot, fill it out carefully, making sure to completely darken the circles next to the candidates you wish to select. Be sure to sign it! Unsigned ballots will not be counted. Mail it early and place first class stamps on it.; it is not post-paid and must be received by your county elections office by 5 PM on Election Day. Do not return your mail ballot to a precinct polling place. You may deliver your own ballot to the Elections office in your county in person.
Florida is working hard to build confidence in its vote-by-mail system. You can check the status of your vote-by-mail ballot on the official Florida website- www.TrackMyMailBallot.org. If there are any issues with your signature or other matters, it will alert you and provide a link to correct these matters.
Now, here Are Some Important Dates-
Monday, July 24 is the deadline for registering to vote in the August 23 party primaries. You must be registered in a party to vote in that party’s primary. Florida is a “closed primary” state where only voters registered in each party may vote in the primary. Click here for more information. The voter registration rolls will reopen after the primary date. If you are not properly registered to vote, you should do so as soon as possible after that date.
Friday, August 13 is the last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot.
Tuesday, August 23 is the day of primary elections throughout Florida. If you elect to vote by mail, your absentee ballot must be received by your county Supervisor of Elections’ Office not later than 7:00 pm on August 23, 2022
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