§ 101.62 Request for vote-by-mail ballots.
Overview of Statute
This statute governs the procedure by which voters can request vote-by-mail ballots. Voters may request ballots either in person, in writing, or over the phone. Requests for vote-by-mail ballots must be made no later than 5 PM 10 days before the election.
(1)(a) The supervisor shall accept a request for a vote-by-mail ballot from an elector in person or in writing. One request shall be deemed sufficient to receive a vote-by-mail ballot for all elections through the end of the calendar year of the second ensuing regularly scheduled general election, unless the elector or the elector’s designee indicates at the time the request is made the elections for which the elector desires to receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Such request may be considered canceled when any first-class mail sent by the supervisor to the elector is returned as undeliverable.
(b) The supervisor may accept a written or telephonic request for a vote-by-mail ballot to be mailed to an elector’s address on file in the Florida Voter Registration System from the elector, or, if directly instructed by the elector, a member of the elector’s immediate family, or the elector’s legal guardian; if the ballot is requested to be mailed to an address other than the elector’s address on file in the Florida Voter Registration System, the request must be made in writing and signed by the elector. However, an absent uniformed service voter or an overseas voter seeking a vote-by-mail ballot is not required to submit a signed, written request for a vote-by-mail ballot that is being mailed to an address other than the elector’s address on file in the Florida Voter Registration System. For purposes of this section, the term “immediate family” has the same meaning as specified in paragraph (4)(c). The person making the request must disclose:
- The name of the elector for whom the ballot is requested.
- The elector’s address.
- The elector’s date of birth.
- The requester’s name.
- The requester’s address.
- The requester’s driver license number, if available.
- The requester’s relationship to the elector.
- The requester’s signature (written requests only).
(c) Upon receiving a request for a vote-by-mail ballot from an absent voter, the supervisor of elections shall notify the voter of the free access system that has been designated by the department for determining the status of his or her vote-by-mail ballot.
(b) The supervisor shall mail a vote-by-mail ballot to each absent qualified voter, other than those listed in paragraph (a), who has requested such a ballot, between the 40th and 33rd days before the presidential preference primary election, primary election, and general election. Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2) and after the period described in this paragraph, the supervisor shall mail vote-by-mail ballots within 2 business days after receiving a request for such a ballot.(c) The supervisor shall provide a vote-by-mail ballot to each elector by whom a request for that ballot has been made by one of the following means:
- By nonforwardable, return-if-undeliverable mail to the elector’s current mailing address on file with the supervisor or any other address the elector specifies in the request.
- By forwardable mail, e-mail, or facsimile machine transmission to absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters. The absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter may designate in the vote-by-mail ballot request the preferred method of transmission. If the voter does not designate the method of transmission, the vote-by-mail ballot shall be mailed.
- By personal delivery before 7 p.m. on election day to the elector, upon presentation of the identification required in s. 101.043.
- By delivery to a designee on election day or up to 5 days prior to the day of an election. Any elector may designate in writing a person to pick up the ballot for the elector; however, the person designated may not pick up more than two vote-by-mail ballots per election, other than the designee’s own ballot, except that additional ballots may be picked up for members of the designee’s immediate family. For purposes of this section, “immediate family” means the designee’s spouse or the parent, child, grandparent, or sibling of the designee or of the designee’s spouse. The designee shall provide to the supervisor the written authorization by the elector and a picture identification of the designee and must complete an affidavit. The designee shall state in the affidavit that the designee is authorized by the elector to pick up that ballot and shall indicate if the elector is a member of the designee’s immediate family and, if so, the relationship. The department shall prescribe the form of the affidavit. If the supervisor is satisfied that the designee is authorized to pick up the ballot and that the signature of the elector on the written authorization matches the signature of the elector on file, the supervisor shall give the ballot to that designee for delivery to the elector.
- Except as provided in s. 101.655, the supervisor may not deliver a vote-by-mail ballot to an elector or an elector’s immediate family member on the day of the election unless there is an emergency, to the extent that the elector will be unable to go to his or her assigned polling place. If a vote-by-mail ballot is delivered, the elector or his or her designee shall execute an affidavit affirming to the facts which allow for delivery of the vote-by-mail ballot. The department shall adopt a rule providing for the form of the affidavit.
s. 2, ch. 7380, 1917; RGS 369; CGL 430; s. 1, ch. 25385, 1949; s. 5, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 32, ch. 28156, 1953; s. 21, ch. 29934, 1955; s. 2, ch. 59-213; s. 32, ch. 65-380; s. 1, ch. 67-33; s. 2, ch. 69-136; s. 4, ch. 69-280; s. 2, ch. 70-93; ss. 1, 2, ch. 71-149; s. 5, ch. 73-157; s. 39, ch. 73-333; s. 2, ch. 75-174; s. 21, ch. 77-175; s. 40, ch. 79-400; s. 2, ch. 83-16; s. 6, ch. 83-251; s. 1, ch. 85-226; s. 4, ch. 86-199; s. 4, ch. 87-363; s. 2, ch. 87-538; s. 28, ch. 89-338; s. 20, ch. 90-360; s. 587, ch. 95-147; s. 3, ch. 96-57; s. 25, ch. 96-406; s. 13, ch. 98-129; s. 32, ch. 99-2; s. 6, ch. 99-140; s. 52, ch. 2001-40; s. 5, ch. 2001-75; s. 18, ch. 2003-415; s. 6, ch. 2004-33; s. 43, ch. 2005-277; s. 37, ch. 2005-278; s. 16, ch. 2005-286; s. 30, ch. 2007-30; s. 7, ch. 2010-167; s. 37, ch. 2011-40; s. 17, ch. 2013-37; s. 11, ch. 2013-57; s. 16, ch. 2016-37; s. 15, ch. 2019-162, eff. July 1, 2019.
1. Definition for Department
The Department of State. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(7).
2. Definition for Supervisor
The supervisor of elections. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(36).
3. Definition for Polling Place
The building which contains the polling room where ballots are cast. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(27).
4. Definition for Overseas Voter
(a) An absent uniformed services voter who, by reason of active duty or service, is absent from the United States on the date of the election involved;
(b) A person who resides outside the United States and is qualified to vote in the last place in which the person was domiciled before leaving the United States; or
(c) A person who resides outside the United States and, but for such residence, would be qualified to vote in the last place in which the person was domiciled before leaving the United States. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(24).
5. Definition for General Election
An election held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in the even-numbered years, for the purpose of filling national, state, county, and district offices and for voting on constitutional amendments not otherwise provided for by law. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(16).
6. Definition for Primary Election
An election held preceding the general election for the purpose of nominating a party nominee to be voted for in the general election to fill a national, state, county, or district office. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(29).
7. Definition for Uniformed Services
The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, and the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(2).
8. Definition for Political Committee
1. A combination of two or more individuals, or a person other than an individual, that, in an aggregate amount in excess of $500 during a single calendar year:
a. Accepts contributions for the purpose of making contributions to any candidate, political committee, affiliated party committee, or political party;
b. Accepts contributions for the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate or the passage or defeat of an issue;
c. Makes expenditures that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate or the passage or defeat of an issue; or
d. Makes contributions to a common fund, other than a joint checking account between spouses, from which contributions are made to any candidate, political committee, affiliated party committee, or political party;
2. The sponsor of a proposed constitutional amendment by initiative who intends to seek the signatures of registered electors.
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the following entities are not considered political committees for purposes of this chapter:
1. National political parties, the state and county executive committees of political parties, and affiliated party committees regulated by chapter 103.
2. Corporations regulated by chapter 607 or chapter 617 or other business entities formed for purposes other than to support or oppose issues or candidates, if their political activities are limited to contributions to candidates, political parties, affiliated party committees, or political committees or expenditures in support of or opposition to an issue from corporate or business funds and if no contributions are received by such corporations or business entities.
3. Electioneering communications organizations as defined in subsection (9). Fla. Stat. § 106.11(16).
9. Definition for Absent Uniformed Services Voter
10. Definition for Ballot
As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, ballot means the card, tape, or other vehicle upon which the elector’s choices are recorded. Fla. Stat. § 101.5603(2).
11. Definition for Person
An individual or a corporation, association, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, club, organization, estate, trust, business trust, syndicate, or other combination of individuals having collective capacity. The term includes a political party, affiliated party committee, or political committee. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(14).
12. Definition for Elector
“Elector” is synonymous with the word “voter” or “qualified elector or voter,” except where the word is used to describe presidential electors. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(15).
13. Definition for Division
The Division of Elections of the Department of State. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(8).
14. Definition for Election
Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(12).
15. Definition for Candidate
Any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:
16. Definition for Emergency
Any occurrence, or threat thereof, whether accidental, natural, or caused by human beings, in war or in peace, that results or may result in substantial injury or harm to the population or substantial damage to or loss of property to the extent it will prohibit an election officer’s ability to conduct a safe and orderly election. Fla. Stat. § 101.732(3).
Case Name: Goldsmith v. McDonald
Citation: 32 So.3d 713
Case Summary: Goldsmith v. McDonald held that it is the responsibility of the absentee voter to ensure that his or her ballot is properly received by the established deadline.
Case Name: Cobb v. Thurman
Citation: 957 So.2d 638
Case Summary: Cobb v. Thurman held that the Secretary of State’s posted notice that a vote for a withdrawn congressional candidate from an opposing political party would be a vote for the party’s substitute candidate violated the impartiality requirements of the Election Code, but that the notice proposed by the supervisors of elections, which also stated that a vote for the withdrawn candidate was a vote for the substituted candidate, but also included the names of every other candidate for that office, satisfied the impartiality requirements under the Election Code.
Case Name: Taylor v. Martin County Canvassing Board
Citation: 773 So.2d 517
Case Summary: Taylor v. Martin County Canvassing Board held that when political parties sent out pre-printed absentee ballot request forms, but one of the parties made a mistake in the printing process, the process used to rectify the mistake did not negatively impact the sanctity of the ballot or the integrity of the election.
Case Name: McLean v. Bellamy
Citation: 437 So.2d 737
Case Summary: McLean v. Bellamy held in part that election officials' failure to conform to Florida election statutes did not justify invalidation of the absentee ballots at issue in the case.
Case Name: Boardman v. Esteva
Citation: 323 So.2d 259
Case Summary: Boardman v. Esteva held that strict compliance with statutory requirements for absentee balloting was not necessary to validate the ballots when there was substantial compliance.
Case Name: Jacobs v. Seminole County Canvassing Board
Citation: 773 So.2d 519
Case Summary: Jacobs initially filed a complaint contesting the certification of election results in the 2000 presidential election. The Circuit Court denied all relief and Jacobs appealed. The appellate court certified the question to the Florida Supreme Court. The Florida Supreme Court then held that the conduct of the county supervisor of elections was not illegal disparate treatment and that the information provided on application for absentee ballots was enough to establish the qualifications of each applicant. Therefore, the supervisor's conduct did not amount to fraud, gross negligence, or intentional wrongdoing.
Case Name: Bush v. Hillsborough County Canvassing Board
Citation: 123 F.Supp.2d 1305
Federal District Court: Northern District of Florida
Case Summary: Bush v. Hillsborough County Canvassing Board held that all federal write-in ballots that were signed pursuant to the oath provided but that were rejected just because the ballot envelope did not have an APO, FPO, or foreign postmark, or just because there was no record of an application for a state absentee ballot, were valid.
Regulations & Guidance
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 160, Generally
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 161, Request or application for ballot
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 162, Request or application for ballot-Overseas voters; electronic means for receiving overseas votes
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 163, Furnishing ballots
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 230, Theft, destruction, alteration, or wrongful possession or handling of ballots and election equipment and records