If you are a U.S. citizen, you can pre-register to vote on or after your 16th birthday, and may vote in any election that takes place on or after your 18th birthday. The Florida Election Code provides some exceptions to this right.
When you register to vote in Florida, you must take an oath to defend the U.S. and Florida constitutions and fill out a registration application. This information and online applications, including the step-by-step process, can be found at the Florida Department of State website.
Primaries in Florida
As a closed primary state, voting in a Florida primary election requires that you first register as a member of a specific political party. Voters can change their party affiliation at any time before the registration deadline. There are a few exceptions to Florida’s closed primaries, including:
- If all candidates for an office have the same party affiliation and the winner of the primary election will not face any opposition in the general election; or
- If races for nonpartisan (i.e., free from party affiliation) judicial and school board offices, nonpartisan special districts, or local referendum questions are on the primary election ballot, then all registered voters are entitled to vote in those races.
You must register to vote at least 29 days before Election Day, with limited exceptions for people in the military.
Vote by Mail
Floridians who can not vote in person may vote by mail, assuming they are registered voters. There are many requirements to request an absentee ballot. Requests for vote-by-mail ballots must be received by your local Supervisor of Elections office no later than 5:00 pm on the 10th day before the election. You can request a vote-by-mail ballot in person or by mail, email, fax, or phone. Only the voter or a designated member or their immediate family or legal guardian can request a vote-by-mail ballot for the voter. Immediate family means the voter’s spouse, parent, child, grandparent, or sibling, of the designee or designee’s spouse.
As a voter requesting a vote-by-mail ballot, you must provide your name, address, and date of birth. If an immediate family member or legal guardian is requesting a vote-by-mail ballot for you, that person must provide that information about the voter as well as the following information about the person making the request:
- Driver’s license number (if available)
- Relationship to voter
- Signature (for written requests only)
When you receive your ballot, follow the instructions carefully to fill it out correctly and return it before the deadline. Florida also allows early voting throughout the state.
Polling Places in Florida
Each Florida county is divided into numbered voting precincts. Voters are assigned a polling place within their precinct, which is where they can go to vote. Your voting precinct can change depending on the address of your legal residence. If you move, some options are available to you to vote more locally.
You will have to provide one form of current and valid government-issued photo identification to vote at your polling location. Refer to the Florida Secretary of Elections for a current list of acceptable forms of proof of identification.
On Election Day, polls are open from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm. Any voter standing in line when the polls officially close can still cast their ballot.