To vote in Florida’s 2020 General Election
Deadline to Register
Eligible individuals can register to vote at any time. The deadline to register in order to participate in an upcoming election is 29 days before the election. The registration deadlines for 2020 are:
- Primary Election: July 27
- General Election: October 5
2020 Early Voting Period
Primary Election: August 3 – August 16
General Election: October 19 – November 1
Deadline for Requesting
a “Vote by Mail” Ballot
A request for a “Vote by Mail” ballot to be mailed to a voter must be received by the Supervisor of Elections no later than 5 p.m. on the sixth day before the election. For 2020. the following deadlines apply:
Primary Election VBM Reg: August 12
General Election VBM Reg: October 28
See CharlotteVotes.com/Vote-by-Mail-Info for details.
- Primary Election: August 18
- General Election: November 3
Understanding Vote by Mail Rules
• Under Florida law, all registered voters are permitted to Vote by Mail in any election. Period. No reason necessary.
• Vote by Mail ballots are mailed (by law) between four to five weeks before any given election.
• Florida does not require a registered voter to be “absent” to Vote by Mail. All voters are eligible.
• The voter must be able to receive mail at the address the voter has identified in his/her Vote by Mail request. Important: Vote by Mail ballots are not forwardable by the Post Office.
• Voted “Vote by Mail” ballots must be mailed, or delivered in person, reaching the Supervisor of Elections’ main office in Punta Gorda no later than 7 p.m. on the day of the election or by 5pm at our branch offices in the Murdock Administration Building or in the West County Annex on San Casa Drive. Please do not return your voted “Vote by Mail” ballot to a polling place.
• If you have obtained a “Vote by Mail” ballot, but want to vote in your precinct on Election Day, you do not need to take the absentee ballot with you to the polls.
Benefits of Vote by Mail
• When we make it easier to vote, more people vote.
• You get your ballot mailed to your home. At your comfort, you can review the candidates and ballot questions with plenty of time before election day.
• No issues with the weather, illness or other emergencies.
• No need to schedule a trip to the polls.
• No worries that “life will get in the way”
• Mail ballots are the first ballots counted.
• You can mail your ballot.
• You can drop it off in person to select Supervisor of Election locations.
With Vote by Mail, you’ll simply have more flexibility and convenience to cast your ballot in the way that works best for you.
Many recent races were decided by slim margins.
Here are a few examples:
2018: The Democratic primary for Baltimore County executive in July was decided by 9 votes. After a recount, the margin increased to 17 votes.
2017: A Virginia House of Delegates race ended in a tie out of more than 23,000 votes cast. The tie was broken by pulling a name, placed in a film canister, out of a bowl. Republican David Yancey was declared the winner. The result was heightened by the fact that the win gave Republicans control of the state House by a single seat.
2016: A Vermont state Senate Democratic primary was determined by a single vote out of more than 7,400 cast.
2016: A Vermont state House seat was determined by one vote out of 2,000. Here’s what’s really crazy: This was a rematch, and when they first faced each other in 2010, the race was also decided by one vote — in the other direction.
2016: A New Mexico state House seat was decided by two votes out of almost 14,000.
2016: The margin on Election Day for a GOP primary for the U.S. House for the 5th Congressional seat from Arizona was just 16 votes, but it widened to 27 after a recount.
2016: A Wyoming state House GOP primary was decided by just one vote, 583 to 582.
2010: A state House race in Massachusetts ended in a tie, and the courts ordered a do-over. In the rerun, Republican Peter Durant wound up winning by just 56 votes out of about 8,000 cast.
2010: A state House race in Vermont was determined by one vote; another had a one-difference vote on Election Day, but was later widened to two).
2008: In the U.S. Senate race, Democrat Al Franken defeated Republican Norm Coleman by just 312 votes out of almost 2.9 million votes cast. Franken’s win gave Democrats a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate.
What are the dates and locations for Early Voting?
Primary: August 10 – August 23, 2020.
General: October 19 – November 1, 2020
Early Voting locations:
Punta Gorda Historical Court House, 2nd floor
226 Taylor Street, Punta Gorda
Mid County Library
2050 Forrest Nelson Blvd., Port Charlotte
San Casa Elections Office
6868 Dan Casa Drive, Englewood
Voters may vote at any one of the voting locations.
What do I need to bring with me to the polls?
A photo I.D. is required. Examples include: Florida driver’s license; Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles; United States passport; Debit or credit card; Military identification; Student identification. For a complete list, click on https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/.
What if my identification does not contain a signature?
You will be asked to provide another I.D. that has your signature.
How do I volunteer to be a poll worker?
For full information, visit this link at www.charlottevotes.com.
When is the deadline to change my party affiliation?
Party changes must be made by the end of the 29th day before the primary election. For a general election, a party change can be made at any time. A party change must be made in writing, and it must include either the voter’s date of birth or Florida Registration Number, as well as the voter’s signature. Click here to access a Florida Voter Registration Application form.
Since Florida is a closed primary state, as a registered Democrat what county offices are open to me?
In this election year, you can vote for the School Board, District 1 and Circuit Judge, 20th judicial circuit. These are non-partisan offices and all voters may vote in these contested elections. Also, because there are two Republican candidates running for Airport Authority in District 2, all voters may vote in this primary election because the winner will be decided in the primary—there will be no need for a run-off election with only two candidates on the primary ballot.
What is a “Universal Primary Contest?”
There are times when all registered voters can vote in a primary election, regardless of which major or minor political party they are registered with or if they are registered without a party affiliation. During these elections, the race is considered to be a Universal Primary Contest. This occurs if all the 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 including no qualified write-in candidates. All registered voters can vote for any of the candidates for that office in the primary election. In 2018, Airport Authority District 2 is an example of a Universal Primary Contest as there are two Republicans running in that race, thus, all registered voters can vote in the primary election in August.
I am registered as NPA (no party affiliation). Can I vote for County races in the primary?
When races for nonpartisan judicial and school board offices, nonpartisan special districts or local referendum questions are on the primary ballot, then all registered voters are entitled to vote those races on the ballot.
Can someone who is homeless register and vote in Florida?
Yes, in fact, anyone experiencing homelessness can vote in all 50 states. Registrants are encouraged to list a shelter address as their voting address where they could receive mail. P.O. Box addresses are not acceptable.
I am an ex-offender, can I vote in Florida?
Individuals convicted of a felony are ineligible to vote while incarcerated, on parole, or on probation. Voting rights restoration is dependent on the type of conviction: many can apply to the clemency board five years after completing their sentence, but others convicted of certain felonies, i.e., murder, child abuse, assault, drug trafficking , and arson, are subject to a seven year waiting period.
I am a survivor of domestic violence. How do I keep my address private?
Address Confidentiality Programs and Confidential Voter Listings are programs administered by the state that enable survivors of domestic violence and in some instances victims of sexual assault and/or stalking, to vote without fear of being found by their abusers by providing a substitute address for all pubic records. Confidential Voter Listings only provide confidentiality on election-related public records. The Charlotte County Supervisor of Elections can provide information on ACPs and Confidential Voter Listings.
I am disabled. How can I receive help with voting?
Federal and state law requires Supervisors of Election and polling places to be accessible. You may receive assistance from an employee of the Supervisors of Election office, your spouse, parent or child, and the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote. However, anyone who is not a Supervisor of Elections employee, voter registration agency employee, or a prospective registrants spouse, parent or child, must register as a “third party voter registration organization” before assisting individuals to register and to vote. Contact the Charlotte County Supervisor of Elections for assistance.