A General Election is held in November of every even-numbered year. The Primary Election for nominating party nominees for the General Election is 12 weeks before the General Election. Additionally, a Presidential Preference Primary is held no earlier than the first Tuesday in January and no later than the first Tuesday in March of Presidential Election years. Special elections may be called at any time during the year. The election dates for 2016 are:
Presidential Preference PrimaryMarch 15, 2016
Primary ElectionAugust 30, 2016
General ElectionNovember 8, 2016
Florida Voter Information
Department of State
Room 316 RA Gray Building
500 South Bronough St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250
You can apply to register to vote at any time. However, to vote in an election, you must be registered in the state by the book closing date, which is normally the 29th day before each election. The book closing dates for the 2014 election cycle are:
REGISTER BY THIS DATE:
Presidential Preference PrimaryFebruary 16, 2016
Primary ElectionAugust 1, 2016
General ElectionOctober 11, 2016
Florida is a closed primary state. If you wish to vote in a partisan primary election, you must be a registered voter in the party for which the primary is being held. However, if all candidates for an office have the same party affiliation and the winner will not have opposition in the general election, all voters, regardless of party affiliation may vote in the primary election for that office. In addition, all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, can vote on issues and nonpartisan candidates in a primary election.
All 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 by contacting the Supervisor of Elections’ office.
How to Make Name, Address and Party Affiliation Changes
When an elector changes his or her name by marriage or other legal process, the elector shall notify his or her Supervisor of Elections or other voter registration official by using a signed written notice that contains the elector's date of birth or voter's registration number.
When an elector changes his or her residence address, the elector must notify his or herSupervisor of Elections.
An address change must be submitted using a Florida Voter Registration Application. However, if the address change is within the state and notice is provided to the supervisor of elections of the county where the elector has moved, the elector may do so by:
Contacting the supervisor of elections via telephone or electronic means; or submitting the change on a voter registration application or other signed written notice. The elector must provide his or her date of birth.
Party Affiliation Changes
When an elector seeks to change his or her party affiliation they shall notify his or her supervisor of elections or other, voter registration official by using a signed written notice that contains the elector's date of birth or voter registration number.
Florida law allows all qualified voters to request an absentee ballot from the Supervisor of Elections. A member of the voter’s immediate family or legal guardian may also request an absentee ballot for a voter, if directly instructed to do so by the voter. The request can cover all elections through the end of the calendar year for the second ensuing regularly scheduled general election. A request for an absentee ballot to be mailed must be made no later than 5 p.m. on the 6th day before an election. Contact your Supervisor of Elections to request an absentee ballot. Refer to the Division of Elections’ webpage on Absentee Votingfor more details.
Voters may vote in person by casting a ballot prior to Election Day. The voter will use the same type of voting equipment that is used at the polls on Election Day. Early voting begins 10 days before an election and ends on the 3rd day before any election in which there is a state or federal office race. Early voting may be held for a maximum of 12 hours, but no less than 6 hours, a day. The hours for each day for each early voting site during that period are set at the Supervisor’s discretion. Supervisors of Elections designate early voting sites 30 days prior to an election. Early voting will be offered in the main or branch office of the Supervisor of Elections. They may also designate any city hall or public library geographically located so that all voters in the county will have an equal opportunity to cast a vote. Contact your Supervisor of Elections for dates, times and locations in your county. Refer to the Division of Elections’ webpage on Early Voting for more details.
Voting at the Polls
On Election Day, the polls are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and are normally less busy during the mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
If you do not know the location of your polling place, contact your Supervisor of Elections. Also, Supervisors of Elections have precinct and polling place finders on their web sites to provide you with the information on where to vote.
At the polls, you will be asked to provide a valid picture identification with signature. The following photo ids will be accepted:
- 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
- Retirement center identification
- Neighborhood association identification
- Public assistance identification.
If your photo identification does not contain your signature, you will be asked to provide an additional identification that includes a signature.
If you do not have the proper identification, you will be provided with a provisional ballot. Your provisional ballot will count if the signature on the provisional ballot envelope matches the signature on your voter registration application.
To be eligible to vote in Florida you must be:
ID Needed for Voter Registration
- A citizen of the United States
- A resident of Florida
- 18 years of age on or before the date of the next general election (January 29, 2008.)
- Not adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting in Florida or any other state
- Not convicted of a felony (and not had your civil rights restored)
You must provide your current and valid Florida driver's license number, an ID number or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number to register. If you have none of these numbers, you must write "NONE" on the voter registration form.
ID Needed for Voting
When you go to the polling place to vote, you will be asked to provide a current and valid picture identification with a signature.
To vote at the polls, you must provide picture identification that also shows a signature.
NOTE: The picture and signature do not have to be on the same document.
You can apply to register to vote at any time. However, to vote in an election, you must be registered in the state by the book closing date, which is normally the 29th day before each election.
Verify Voter Registration
To verify your voter registration status, please contact your supervisor of elections' office.
Absentee Ballot Process
All qualified voters are permitted to vote absentee under Florida law. The supervisor of elections' office may accept a request for an absentee ballot in person or in writing. Contact the office of your supervisor of elections' office to request an absentee ballot by mail no later than 5:00 pm on the sixth day before the election.
Overseas citizens and U.S. military personnel can find information on how to register to vote and request an absentee ballot at the Overseas Vote Foundation.
- When requesting an absentee ballot, whether by phone or by letter, you must provide your name, residence address, date of birth, driver's license number (if available,) and signature (if it is a written request.) Your request for an absentee ballot may be denied if you do not provide the required information. Specify the election(s) for which you wish to receive an absentee ballot and provide a mailing address.
- Check with your supervisor of elections if you need more information. A designee may pick up an absentee ballot for you on Election Day or up to four days before Election Day. A designee may only pick up two absentee ballots per election, other than his or her own ballot or ballots for members of his or her immediate family.
- Designees must have written authorization from the voter, present a picture ID and sign an affidavit. If you have obtained an absentee ballot but are able to vote in your precinct on Election Day, you must take the absentee ballot with you to the polls, whether or not it has been marked.
- However, if you are unable to return the ballot and vote in your precinct on Election Day, you may vote a provisional ballot.
- Once your absentee ballot is voted, you may either return it by fax or you may mail it to the supervisor of elections so that it is received no later than 7:00 pm on Election Day. Voted ballots returned by e-mail will not be accepted. Carefully follow the instructions sent to you with your absentee ballot to ensure that it is counted. You must be sure to not only sign, but date the absentee ballot envelope to ensure that your ballot is counted.
Early voting begins 15 days before an election and ends on the second day before the election. Early voting will be conducted 8 hours per day on each weekday during the early voting period and will be provided for 8 hours in the aggregate for each weekend during the period. Each supervisor of elections will designate the early voting sites 30 days prior to an election. (October 8, 2006.) For additional information on dates, times, and locations, please contact the office of your supervisor of elections' office.
Please remember to bring a photo and signature identification with you.
Polling Place Hours
The polling place hours will be from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Polling Place Locator
Provisional ballots are eligible if cast in the correct precinct.
The voting systems used in Florida are optical scan and DRE.
Optical Scan: With this system, you will receive a card or sheet of paper, which you take over to a private table or booth. The card has the names of the various candidates and ballot measures printed on it. With a pen or pencil you fill in a little box or circle or the space between two arrows. When you are finished filling out all the cards, you may bring the cards over to a ballot box, where poll workers will show you how to put the cards in the box. Or in some places, you may feed the completed cards or papers into a computer device that checks your card or paper right there at the polling place to make sure you have voted the way you want to and counts the votes.
Direct Recording Electronic (DRE): This is the newest kind of system in use in the U.S. All the information about who and what you are voting for is on an electronic screen like a TV or computer screen.
There are many variations of DREs because lots of companies are inventing new ones, and many cities, counties and states are trying them out. Usually, after you have signed in, the poll workers will give you a card that you slide into a device to start your voting session.
Some of these devices will show all of the candidates and ballot choices on one big screen. Often, with these big screen devices you push a button next to the name of the candidate you want to vote for (or yes or no on a ballot measure). On other DREs, the screen is set up to show "pages." On each screen or page, there will probably be one thing to vote on. For example, on one screen or page, you might vote for president. Then you might move to the next page to vote for senator. Often these small-screen devices have a "touch screen," where you touch the screen next to the name of the person you want to vote for. Other devices have a key pad. And some have a keyboard, so you can write in the name of someone you want to vote for.
You let the system know you are finished voting by pushing a button, touching the screen or entering something on a keypad.
Provisions for Voters with Disabilities
If you are unable to read or write or, because of a disability, needs assistance in voting, you may designate someone, other than an employer or an officer or agent of your union, to provide such assistance. Election officials may also provide assistance.