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Voter Registration FAQ: How Do I Vote By Mail? When Are The Deadlines?

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MIAMI HERALD STAFF
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This post was updated Thursday, Aug. 6.

Mail-in-ballots and absentee ballots (which are the same thing, for what it’s worth) have gotten a lot of attention as more election departments are encouraging their use in their August primary elections and ahead of the November presidential election. 

Given the continued  prevalence of COVID-19, and long lines that voters have faced in other parts of the country, we wanted to give a breakdown of how the process works here in South Florida.

But before we get to that information, we want to let you know how to register for the upcoming Aug. 18 election ahead of the July 20 deadline. Simply head here to register. And on that page you can also update your voter information if you’re already registered. Finally, you can head here to double check that your voter registration info is correct and up to date.

Now, here are the steps to follow to get a mail in ballot:

How do I request a ballot?

If you’re a registered voter you can request a ballot in your county for just the upcoming Aug. 18 election or for all elections moving forward. The four South Florida counties allow you to request that ballot online but you can also request one via email, fax, phone or in the mail.

Here’s where you can find the information on making that request in each county:

What’s the deadline?

The deadline, according to state guidelines, is that requests have to come in by 5 p.m. on the tenth day before the election — that’s Aug 8. for the upcoming August primary. And that's whether you complete the request online, via email, in-person or via fax (if you're really committed to sending it that way).

And that 5 p.m. deadline isn't a postmark deadline, so if you choose to mail in your request you have to do it with enough time so it arrives at the elections department by 5 p.m. on Aug. 8. So don't delay if you want to mail in your vote-by-mail request.

Can I request a ballot and then not use it?

Yes. You can still decide you want to vote in person at the last minute.

And if you decide to change your mind, make sure you bring your mail ballot with you when you vote so the elections department can confirm that you didn't send it in and cancel your mail ballot.

Can I hand my mail-in-ballot on Election Day?

Yes, but, and there’s a big but — you can’t drop it off at a polling precinct. It has to be at the Supervisor of Elections office. 

  • In Miami-Dade, it’s in Doral — 2700 NW 87th Ave. or the government center in downtown Miami — 111 NW 1st St. There will also be boxes at the North Dade Regional Library in Miami Gardens — NW 2455 NW 183rd St. — and the South Dade Regional Library in Cutler Bay — 10750 SW 211 St.
  • In Broward, that’ll be in Fort Lauderdale — 115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 102. 
  • In Palm Beach, you can take it to any of the county’s elections offices which you can find at the bottom of this page
  • In Monroe that’s in Key West — 530 Whitehead St. #101, Marathon — 10015 Overseas Hwy., or Key Largo — 102050 Overseas Hwy #137. 

What about dropping it off at an early voting location before Election Day?

Yep, you can do that. You just need to either: 

  • Walk in and give it to a staffer
  • Find the vote-by-mail box in the precinct and drop it off. 

And here's a look at the early voting locations and schedules in South Florida:

And how do I track the status of my mail ballot?

You can do that through your county's supervisor of elections website by entering your voter information at the following links:

What if my address is different than when I initially requested my mail-in ballot?

Then you have to request an update to your address. You can do that by sending a request to your county’s supervisor of elections office.

Wait, but what if I move between when I got my mail-in ballot and Election Day? Can I still drop my ballot off if my address isn’t updated?

Yes, but remember, you can only drop it off at a polling place during early voting. If you do it on Election Day, it has to be at a SOE office. And if you want to switch your ballot to your new address, see the question above.

Have any other questions about voter registration, voting by mail, or about the August election in general? Fill out the form below to let us know and someone from our staff will be in touch.