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Webpage last updated: April 17, 2024

For additional special information about vote-by-mail for absent stateside military and overseas military and civilians, visit Military and Overseas Voting. For additional information about accessible voting methods including vote-by-mail for persons with disabilities, visit Accessible Voting for Persons with Disabilities

What is Vote-by-Mail

Voting by mail is an option to voting during early voting or on Election Day. Once registered, you can request that a vote-by-mail ballot be sent or picked up in person.

When Does a Request for Vote-by-Mail Expire?

A request to receive a vote-by-mail ballot covers all elections from the date a request was submitted through the end of the calendar year for the next ensuing regularly scheduled general election.  You can alternatively ask to receive the ballot for specified elections(s) within that period.

A request must then be renewed thereafter if the voter wishes to continue to receive a vote-by-mail ballot after the expiration of each time period thereafter. 

If a vote-by-mail ballot is returned undeliverable during any election, it will cancel a request on record. If the voter requests a ballot thereafter, the voter must provide or confirm his or her current residential address before being able to get a ballot.

How to Request a Vote-by-Mail Ballot

A request for a vote-by-mail ballot may be made in one of the following ways:

  • By signed writing, using Form DS-DE 160 (Statewide Vote-by-Mail ballot Request Form) (e.g., mail, fax, or scanned attachment to an email) to Supervisor of Elections,
  • In person at Supervisor of Elections' office, or
  • By phone to Supervisor of Elections

The request must include the following information:

  • The voter's name
  • The voter’s date of birth, 
  • The voter’s address (A signed written request is required if the address is different that the address on file. An exception exists for absent uniformed service voter or an overseas voter seeking a vote-by-mail ballot.), 
  • The voter’s Florida driver license, Florida identification card, or last four digits of the voter's social security number, whichever may be verified in the supervisor’s records, and
  • The voter’s signature (if the request is written).

Note: Any written request must be made using Form DS-DE 160.

Who Can Request a Vote-by-Mail Ballot

The following persons can request a ballot for a voter:

  • A voter, 
  • The voter's immediate family member (i.e., voter’s spouse, parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling), 
  • The voter’s spouse's parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling
  • The voter’s legal guardian, or
  • A designee for a voter with a disability.

If a request is made on behalf of the voter, the following additional information is required:

  • The requestor’s address, 
  • The requestor’s driver license number, state identification card, or the last four digits of the elector’s social security number (if available), 
  • The requestor’s relationship to the voter, and
  • The requestor’s signature (if the request is written).

The statewide vote-by-mail ballot request form (Form DS-DE 160) must be used for a written request.

What is the Deadline to Request that a Vote-by-Mail Ballot be Mailed

The deadline to request that a ballot be mailed is no later than 5 p.m. on the 12th day before the election. A Supervisor of Elections must mail the ballot out within 2 business days after a request but no later than the 10th day before election day.

Who Can Pick Up a Vote-by-Mail Ballot

A voter can pick up their own vote-by-mail ballot at any time once ballots for requests already on file have been mailed, including Election Day.

A voter can designate any person to pick up their ballot. The designee can pick up the ballot once ballots for requests already on file have been mailed. A designee is limited to picking up vote-by-mail ballots for two other voters per election (not including their own ballot and the ballots for immediate family members). An immediate family member refers to the designee's spouse, parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, or the designee’s spouse’s parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.

The designee must submit an affidavit to pick-up the voter’s blank ballot. Form DS-DE 162 is a combination form that includes the affidavit for ballot pick-up, the written authorization for the designee and if a request is not already on record, the voter’s request for a vote-by-mail ballot. 

If a voter or designee waits until the start of mandatory early voting or up through Election Day to pick up or have delivered a vote-by-mail ballot, a special affidavit must also be completed. The voter must affirm in the affidavit that an emergency exists that keeps the voter from being able to vote at a designated early voting site in his or her county or at his or her assigned polling place on Election Day.  The affidavit is part of Form DS-DE 162.

How to Vote a Vote-by-Mail Ballot

Instructions are included with the vote-by-mail ballot. Florida does not have a witness requirement to complete a ballot certificate.

How to Request Another Ballot

If a ballot is lost or damaged (e.g., not yet arrived or way overdue, return envelope has sealed due to humidity, ballot materials are wet, stained from food, torn, etc.), a voter can request another ballot. Contact your Supervisor of Elections' office. Contact information is here.

How to Vote in Person if Ballot Requested

A voter who has requested a vote-by-mail ballot may change his or her mind and vote in person. The voter should bring the ballot (marked or unmarked) to the polls to turn the ballot in and vote a regular ballot. If the voter does not bring the ballot to the polls for whatever reason, the Supervisor of Elections' office will need to confirm that the ballot has not already been returned and received. If the ballot has not been received, the voter will be allowed to vote a regular ballot. 

If it cannot be determined if the ballot has been received, the voter will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot. See section 101.69, Fla. Stat.

If the ballot has been received, the ballot is deemed cast and the voter to have already voted. If the voter believes the office is incorrect for whatever reason, the voter is allowed to vote a provisional ballot. The matter will then be presented to the canvassing board for determination. 

What is the Deadline to Return a Vote-by-Mail Ballot

A returned voted ballot must be received, regardless of postmark, by the Supervisor of Elections' office no later than 7:00 pm (local time) on Election Day. A 10-day extension exists for overseas voters only for Presidential Preference Primary and General Elections, provided the ballot is postmarked or dated by Election Day. Untimely received ballots are otherwise not counted.

What is the Recommended Timeline to Return a Vote-by-Mail Ballot

The United States Postal Service recommends that domestic nonmilitary voters mail back their voted ballots at least one (1) week before the Election Day deadline to account for any unforeseen events or weather issues.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) provides recommended earlier timelines (see timetable at the bottom of FVAP's website) for absent military and overseas voters. For more information about election mail and the United States Postal Service, visit the webpage on election-mail.

How and Where to Return a Vote-by-Mail Ballot

A vote-by-mail ballot can be returned by mail or delivered in person. If returned by mail, it can be returned by the United States Postal service or through another private or commercial carrier as long as the ballot is received by the requisite deadline.

A vote-by-mail ballot cannot be returned online, by fax, by email or by fax with one exception. Overseas voters (civilian and military) have the option to return their ballot by mail or by fax. Please visit the webpage Military and Overseas Voting for more information.

Vote-by-mail ballots may also be deposited into secure drop boxes at Supervisors of Elections' main and branch offices until 7:00 pm (local time) on Election Day. Vote-by-mail ballots may also be deposited at secure drop boxes at designated early voting sites in the county. Visit your county Supervisors of Elections' website for the locations, days, and hours of all secure drop boxes in the county. Contact information can be found here.

How to Correct a Missing or Mismatched Signature on Your Vote-by-Mail Ballot

A Supervisor of Elections is required to notify a voter as soon as it is practical if a voter's signature is missing or does not match the one on record. Once a voter learns about the missing or mismatched signature, the voter may complete and return a “Vote-by-Mail Ballot Cure” Affidavit (Form DS-DE 139 - English PDF / Español PDF) with a copy of identification. The documentation can be returned by mail, email, fax, or in person. The deadline to submit the form and the ID is no later than 5 p.m. (local time) on the 2nd day after an election. Failure to follow the instructions may cause the ballot not to be counted.

How to Track Your Vote-by-Mail Ballot Request and Returned Ballot

Any voter who has requested a vote-by-mail ballot can track online the status of his or her ballot through the county Supervisor of Elections' website or access the county-specific link on our webpage Vote-by-Mail Ballot Information and Status Lookup.

The United States Postal Service also provides a free service (register online) called Informed Delivery that allows a voter to see in advance a digital image of the address side of certain mail pieces such as a requested vote-by-mail ballot that will arrive at the voter’s mailing address. Other options, if time does not allow for timely return by mail, include in person delivery, secure ballot intake stations designated by county’s Supervisor of Elections, or expedited or special courier services.

NOTE: If a voter’s registration information is protected pursuant to section 119.071(2), (4), or (5), Florida Statutes, or the voter is a participant in the Attorney General Office’s Address Confidentiality Program, the voter will need to contact the Supervisor of Elections’ office about the status of the vote-by-mail ballot and request.