Know Your Voting Rights

August 4 - Early Voting Begins
August 14 - Primary Election
October 9 - Voter Registration Deadline for General
October 29 - Early Voting for General
November 6, 2012 - General Election

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During the 2012 Legislative session, more than 80 sections of the state’s election laws were modified. Many of the changes have led to numerous voter suppression complaints. Reports indicate the new restrictive laws will prevent thousands of Floridians, including college students, from exercising their right to vote.  As a member of Student –FEA, it is important that you know your voting rights before heading to the polls.

 

Are you registered to vote? If yes, make sure that you have your voter registration card and know your polling place. Many counties have decreased the number of polling locations.

If no, contact your county’s Supervisor of Elections immediately to request a voter register application. This can be done in person, by phone, by mail or online.  If you are a first time voter in Florida, you must register 29 days before the upcoming Election in order to participate. 

 

Restrictions on Voters Who Move

Has your address changed since the last election? You are required to vote in the precinct where you live. Only voters who move within the same county or those with active military status can update their address at the polls. Registered voters who move outside of the county that they are registered in can only cast a provisional ballot. Previously, a registered voter who relocated anywhere within the state was able to update their address at the polls and cast a regular ballot on Election Day.

 

What you need to do. To ensure that your vote counts, contact the Supervisor of Elections in your county and update your address now. Don’t wait until it’s time to cast your ballot. You can make the change by phone, in person, by email or with a signed affidavit. Make sure that your date of birth is included in your documents.


Early Voting has Been Reduced

Early voting has been popular among Floridians because it allows voters to avoid the Election Day rush, but Florida legislators have limited the time to vote to 8 days. Previously, voters had up to 14 days prior to the election. Also, early voting on the Sunday prior to the election has been eliminated.


What you will need at the polls in order to vote on Election Day:

You will be asked to provide a valid photo ID with signature. If your signature doesn’t appear on your photo ID, you will be asked to present an additional ID with a signature. If you do not have proper identification, you will be given a provisional ballot. Your ballot will be counted as long as the ballot signature is an exact match to the signature on your voter record. Voters who do not provide a valid picture and signature identification may cast a provisional ballot. You can update your signature, but it must be completed 15 days prior to the election. You can make the change using a voter registration application. 


Valid photo IDs, include:

  • Florida driver’s license
  • Identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
  • Military or student ID
  • US passport
  • Debit or credit card


What about Absentee Ballots?

An Absentee Ballot may be requested at any time up to 6 days before the election. This can be done in person, by phone, by mail or online. If your ballot gets lost in the mail or is returned as undeliverable, your ballot request will be canceled. You may be able to track your absentee ballot. Some counties allow voters to check the status of their ballot on their websites. Check with your Supervisor of Elections.

Voting should be a quick and easy process if you plan ahead and use these guidelines. Avoid the rush and take advantage of the early voting period: 8 days prior to the election. If you have any questions, contact your Supervisor of Elections, today.

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