By Jane Merriam, Charlotte County Dem writer
Voting by Mail (VBM) in Charlotte County, Florida is the easy, safe, efficient, and HEALTHY way to vote in 2020. There are just a few things you need to know:
- The deadline to register to vote is October 5, 2020. That date is now passed. We hope you are registered.
- The deadline to request that a VBM ballot be mailed to you is no later than 5pm on October 23, 2020. But don’t wait!
- To register to Vote by Mail you simply need to call the Supervisor of Elections (SOE) at 941-833-5400. They will ask for your name and birth date. They also will ask if you want to register for just this election cycle or until 2022. It is recommended you choose until 2022…but remember, just because you have registered to VBM does NOT exclude you from going to the polls during early voting or on Election Day.
- Familiarize yourself with the Supervisor of Elections’ website: charlottevotes.com
- Go to charlottevotes.com and look up your records to find out if your VBM ballot has been mailed to you. The mailing process started on September 24th and continued into early October. If you do not have your ballot by October 12th, we suggest you call the SOE.
Select the Registration option from the left-hand column and submit your name and birth date. This will take you to a page where you can:
- Select MY INFORMATION to see your general registration information
- Select UPCOMING ELECTIONS to see the status of your VBM ballot.
- It will give you the date your VBM ballot was mailed to you.
- If you do not receive it within one week of its mailing, CALL the Supervisor of Elections.
- If you have mailed or taken your ballot to a polling site and you do not see that it has been RECEIVED, call the SOE.
VERY IMPORTANT: If your ballot has been received and is recorded as such on your record, your signature has been validated.
If you are concerned that your signature on file is old and may not match your current ballot signature, you have three options:
- Go to the Supervisor of Election office at the Historic Courthouse in Punta Gorda.
- Submit a new Voter Registration Application.
- Call the Charlotte County Democratic office at (941) 258-3542, and we will come to your home and help you update your signature.
There are concerns about longer than usual USPS delivery times and defunding of the USPS. We strongly urge you to complete your VBM ballot early and to mail it within the first week of receipt and no later than October 19th. If you don’t trust the USPS to deliver your ballot, you can drop off your Vote by Mail ballot at any one of Charlotte’s early voting locations listed below.
ONLY the Punta Gorda Historic Courthouse is open to receive your hand delivered VBM ballot until October 19th. From October 19 to November 1, the locations below will be open from 7 AM to 7 PM daily for Early Voting and to drop off your VBM ballot.
Mac V. Horton West County Annex
6868 San Casa Dr. Englewood FL, 34224
Mid-County Regional Library
2050 Forrest Nelson Blvd. Port Charlotte FL, 33952
Punta Gorda Historic Courthouse
226 Taylor St. Punta Gorda FL, 33950
Summary: For the general election, the deadline to register to vote is October 5, 2020. Early voting sites will be open daily, Monday October 19 through Sunday November 1, 7 AM to 7 PM. The deadline to request that a VBM ballot be mailed to you is no later than 5pm on October 23, 2020. We recommend that you mail your completed VBM ballot back as soon as possible, preferably by October 19th, but certainly not later than October 26th. If you cannot do this, please hand deliver your ballot to one of the voting sites above.Image Credits: Photo by Chris Woods from FreeImages.com