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Vote-By-Mail FAQs

What is vote-by-mail?

Vote-by-mail, previously known as “Absentee Voting” is a convenient voting option available to all registered voters to receive and cast a paper ballot by mail. Voting by mail provides voters with the flexibility and convenience to vote from their homes or anywhere in the world.

 

Do I need a reason to vote-by-mail?

No, any registered voter may request a mail ballot.

 

Do I need to request a vote-by-mail ballot?

A voter must have an active request on file with the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections to receive a vote-by-mail ballot.  A vote-by-mail ballot may be requested for a specific election or for all elections through the end of the calendar year of the regularly next scheduled general election.  To check the status of your mail ballot request, use our Check Your Mail Ballot Status or contact the Elections Office at 772-226-4700.

 

Who can request a vote-by-mail ballot?

Any registered voter can request a mail ballot.  In addition, any registered voter’s legal guardian or immediate family (i.e., the designee’s spouse or the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling of the designee or of the designee’s spouse) if directly instructed by the voter.

 

How far in advance can I request a vote-by-mail ballot?

Mail ballot requests can be made for all elections through the next regularly scheduled general election.  After that, you will need to renew your request.

 

Is there a deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot?

Yes, a vote-by-mail ballot must be requested no later than 5 p.m. on the 10th day prior to an election in order for the Elections Office to mail the ballot to you. After that deadline, you may still pick up a mail ballot through the day before the election.

 

How can I request for a vote-by-mail ballot?

A voter or legal guardian or immediate family member may request a vote-by-mail ballot in person, by phone, fax, email, written, or online request form.  A telephone or in-person request must include your name, address, date of birth, plus voter must provide their Florida Driver License or Florida ID number or the last four digits of their social security number, whichever may be verified in the supervisor’s records.  If the request is in writing, the voter must provide their name, address, date of birth, plus voter must provide their Florida Driver License or Florida ID number or the last four digits of their social security number, whichever may be verified in the supervisor’s records, in addition to the voter’s signature.    

 

May I request a vote-by-mail ballot for a family member?

Yes, you may request a vote-by-mail ballot be mailed to anyone in your immediate family or anyone for whom you are a legal guardian.   Any request for a voter must include the voter’s name, address, date of birth, and the voter’s Florida Driver License or Florida ID number or the last four digits of their social security number, whichever may be verified in the supervisor’s records.  In addition, the requestor must provide their name, address, relationship to the voter, signature (written requests only), and if available the requester’s driver license or identification card number, or the last four digits of the requester’s social security number.  Please note that if a ballot is being sent to an address that is not on file with our office, only the voter may make the request and MUST contain the voter’s signature.

 

Can I pick up a vote-by-mail ballot?

A voter can pick up a vote-by-mail ballot at the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections office.  Ballot pick-up is generally available six (6) weeks before the date of the election.

 

May I designate someone to pick up a mail ballot for me?

If the voter is unable to pick up their ballot, he or she may designate another person to pick up their vote-by-mail ballot up to nine (9) days prior to Election Day.  The designee must provide photo identification along with a written and signed authorization from the voter or provide the following affidavit (DS-DE 37 – English PDF / Español PDF). The designee may only pick up two (2) mail ballots per election other than his or her own, except for the ballots picked up for members of his or her immediate family.

 

Download an Affidavit to Pick-up Vote-By-Mail Ballot for Voter

 

Affidavit PDF (English)    Affidavit PDF (Spanish)

 

Can I pick up a vote-by-mail ballot on election day?

In order to receive a vote-by-mail ballot on Election Day, you must complete the Election Day Affidavit (DS-DE 136 – English PDF / Español PDF) to affirm that you have an emergency keeping you from being able to vote at your assigned polling location.

 

Download the Election Day Vote-By-Mail Ballot Delivery Affidavit

 

Affidavit PDF (English)      Affidavit PDF (Spanish)

 

Will the post office forward my vote-by-mail ballot?

No, ballots are NOT forwardable.   Your ballot will be mailed to your residential address unless we have a mailing address, or other authorized address on file. If you have moved, you need to contact our office so we can send your mail ballot to the correct address.  A ballot returned to our office as undeliverable will cancel an existing request for upcoming elections and you will be required to submit a new request.

 

When are my vote-by-mail ballots mailed/sent out?

Ballots are mailed between 40 and 33 days for all domestic voters with requests already on file. Ballots for UOCAVA (Military/Overseas) voters are sent no later than 45 days before the election by forwarded mail, fax, or email as specified in the voter’s request.  Vote-by-mail ballots are sent daily as new requests are received. 

 

How do I vote my vote-by-mail ballot?

The voter must personally vote their own ballot (unless assistance is required due to blindness, disability or inability to read or write).  All vote-by-mail ballots contain voting instructions on how to ensure your ballot is counted.  Each mail ballot packet will contain: a ballot, secrecy sleeve (instructions), and a pre-addressed voter’s certificate return envelope (must be signed by the voter).

 

I have a power of attorney for someone, can I sign the mail ballot envelope on their behalf?

No, it is illegal to sign for someone else, no exceptions.  All mail ballots must be signed by the voter, even if it is with their identifying mark.

 

What if I make a mistake marking my ballot?

If you make a mistake on your mail ballot, contact the Elections Office at 772-226-4700 to request a replacement ballot.  A voter may receive up to three (3) replacement vote-by-mail ballots, but the first one received back by the Elections Office will be the one that is counted.  Once the Elections Office has received your vote-by-mail ballot, no changes can be made.

 

Why should I update my signature/identifying mark?

It is important to keep your signature/identifying mark up to date with the Elections Office.  Your signature on file with the Elections Office is used to verify the signature on your vote-by-mail ballot certificate envelope. You can update your signature/identifying mark by completing and submitting a Voter Registration Application (DS-DE 39 English PDF/Spanish PDF) to the Elections Office. 

 

I forgot to sign my mail ballot envelope!  Can I fix that?

Yes.  If you returned your vote-by-mail ballot but forgot to sign the envelope, or if the signature has been flagged for review, your ballot may not count unless you complete and return the Vote-By-Mail Cure Affidavit form with a copy of your identification, no later than 5 p.m. two (2) days after the election.  Voters who have a signature issue are notified by mail, email, and telephone, based on the information provided to our office by the voter.

Download the Vote-By-Mail Ballot Cure Affidavit

 

Affidavit PDF (English)      Affidavit PDF (Spanish)

 

Will my vote still count if I forget to put the secrecy sleeve in the mail ballot envelope?

Yes.  The secrecy sleeve is included in the packet as an option to ensure the privacy of your ballot.  If you do not include it in the returned ballot envelope, your vote will not be impacted.

 

I am uncomfortable with my signature on the outside of the mailing envelope, what can I do?

If you are concerned with including this information on the return envelope, you can return your ballot inside a separate mailing envelope.  You may also deliver the ballot in person to the Supervisor of Elections Office during regular business.  Once early voting has begun, you may also deliver your ballot to one of our secure drop boxes located at each of our early voting locations during early voting hours.

 

Am I required to provide my phone number and email address on the voter’s certificate envelope?

It is not a requirement to provide your phone number and email address on the return envelope.  However, the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections office highly recommends you provide this information in the event there is a signature issue with your mail ballot, such as you forgot to sign your ballot or your signature on the voter’s certificate envelope does not match your signature on file with the Elections Office.  If you are concerned about including this information on the return envelope, you can call or email our office directly with this information, or return your ballot inside a separate mailing envelope. 

 

The humidity sealed my vote-by-mail return envelope.  Do I need to request a new one?

No, just sign and use clear tape to seal the envelope when sending it back.

 

Will a vote-by-mail ballot be counted if it is postmarked on election day?

No, a vote-by-mail ballot is only counted if it is RECEIVED in the Supervisor of Elections Office in the county of residence by 7 p.m. on Election Day.  Postmarks do not count.

 

It’s getting close to Election Day and I want to make sure my ballot is received on time, what can I do?

You can drop off your signed, voted ballot at our office during business hours.  You can also bring your voted ballot to any early voting location during early voting hours.  Another option is to exchange the voted ballot for an in-person ballot at any early voting location or at your assigned polling location on Election Day.

 

How Do I Know the Elections Office Received my Voted Vote-by-Mail Ballot?

You can track the status of your vote-by-mail ballot on our official website VoteIndianRiver.com to see when your ballot was received by our office.  If there are any signature issues, you will be alerted and directed to the Vote-By-Mail Ballot Cure Affidavit link.

 

Does having a vote-by-mail ballot prevent me from voting in person?

No. You may surrender your mail ballot and vote in-person during early voting or on Election Day. 

 

Can someone else drop my vote-by-mail ballot off for me?

Yes, (with the following restrictions) Any person who distributes, orders, requests, collects, delivers, or otherwise physically possesses more than two vote-by-mail ballots per election in addition to his or her own ballot or a ballot belonging to an immediate family member, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree. 

 

Can I bring my vote-by-mail ballot to my precinct on Election Day?

Voted mail ballots will not be accepted at Election Day polling places because vote-by-mail ballots may only be turned in at the Supervisor of Elections Office on Election Day before 7 p.m.  A voter may surrender the mail ballot and vote a new ballot in person at their precinct.

 

Is my vote still secret if I vote-by-mail?

Yes.  Recording your vote-by-mail is a two-step process.  Upon receiving your completed mail ballot envelope, your signature on the outside of the envelope is compared to your signature on your voter record.  At that time, your record is marked that you have cast a ballot for the election and the unopened envelope with the ballot inside is stored in a secure vault.  During canvassing, the ballots are separated from the mail ballot envelopes and run through our high-speed counters.  The only identifying numbers on the ballot are the style of the ballot and your precinct number; your vote is secret and your selections are aggregated with thousands of votes cast in your precinct.

 

Are vote-by-mail ballots only counted if the election is close?

No.  Vote-by-mail ballots are the first ballots tabulated.  Florida law allows for the canvassing of vote-by-mail ballots to begin immediately upon completion of the logic and accuracy test of the tabulation system.  While the ballots are canvassed in the presence of the County Canvassing Board, the results are not released until 7 p.m. on Election Night.  The first results posted on our website, VoteIndianRiver.com, are the tabulated vote-by-mail and early voting results.

Leslie Rossway Swan
Supervisor of Elections
Indian River County

4375 43rd Avenue
Vero Beach, FL 32967

Office: (772) 226-4700
Fax: (772) 770-5367
Hours: M - F, 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

PLEASE NOTE: Under Florida law, email addresses are public records. If you do not want your email address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing. Florida Statute 668.6076