The How and When for Mail-In Ballots

Riley Hazel, Staff Writer

With election season in full force, it can be a daunting activity for any voter to visit the polls, especially in a time like this. According to a poll from the Washington Post, 77% of Americans are eligible to vote by mail after states have relaxed their restrictions in response to the health crisis.

The General Election takes place on November 3, with early voting taking place in Lee County from October 19 through the 31. To participate, one needs to register as a voter through his/her county’s Supervisor of Elections office. In Lee County, the deadline to register is October 5.

In Florida, forms to request a vote-by-mail ballot can be filled out online, in person, or by mail and must have been received ten days before the election.

“If your ‘home’ address is in Florida, you can register to vote at your dorm address using a Florida Voter Registration Application,” recommends Supervisor of Lee County Elections, Tommy Doyle. “However, since dorm rooms can change from semester to semester, [Lee County] recommends [voting] using your ‘home’ address.”

The address you register with is crucial as it determines which county one can vote in. In response, voters can update their address—absentee ballots, otherwise known as vote-by-mail ballots are available per request.

All vote-by-mail ballots, regardless of whether they are mailed or not, must be received by the 7 pm deadline on the day of the election in order to be counted.

The United States Postal Office is strongly recommending all vote-by-mail ballots be sent at least 15 days before Election Day.

Given the removal of several mail sorting machines around the country per the General Postmaster’s request, it would be wise to turn in vote-by-mail ballots in-person, if safe to do so.

Voters registered in Lee County can return their vote-by-mail ballot to any of the two Elections Office Branch locations or the Main Office. Secure drop-boxes to collect vote-by-mail ballots are made available at every early voting location as well.

If opting to vote in-person and registered to do so in Lee County, check for precinct locations.

As for who will be on the ballot, sample ballots with the candidates and proposed amendments are mailed to every voter typically two weeks before the election.