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It's time to request vote-by-mail ballots for March election

In this 2020 photo, an election worker sorts vote-by-mail ballots at the Miami-Dade County Board of Elections in Doral.
Lynne Sladky
/
AP
In this 2020 photo, an election worker sorts vote-by-mail ballots at the Miami-Dade County Board of Elections in Doral.

Do you want the convenience of voting by mail in the spring? You'll need to ask for a ballot, even if you've gotten one before.

If you're in Duval County, the Supervisor of Elections Office must get your request for a mail-in ballot, along with certain information, by 5 p.m. March 11.

It used to be that voters could request mail-in ballots for their next two general elections, basically the next four years. But a Florida election law enacted in 2021 requires voters to submit a new request for each election cycle.

Now is the time to register to vote by mail, says Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan. But in case anyone forgot the new rules, Hogan says they'll get a reminder by mail.

"We have already sent out almost 100,000 notices to people whose mail-in has expired," Hogan said. "That's been mailed over the last two weeks. In fact, I got mine because my wife votes by mail. So we have already notified everybody who typically votes by mail and has not reupped."

Jacksonville voters — Hogan's office says there are 653,613 registered as of now — will cast ballots for mayor, property appraiser and most City Council races in the March election, with runoffs decided in May.

Any Florida resident who is a U.S. citizen age 18 or older can vote unless they have been found to be mentally incapacitated or convicted of a felony without civil rights being restored.

To request a vote-by-mail ballot, the Florida Supervisors of Elections Office says the voter can get one in person from their local elections office, or request it by mail, email, fax or telephone. If the voter cannot do that, only a designated member of his or her immediate family or a legal guardian can request a vote-by-mail ballot. And the voter must provide their address, date of birth and signature if it is a written request.

Ballots for all primary, general or special elections in 2023 and 2024 will be sent to voters who register now, elections officials said. But the closer it gets to March, the less chance a mailed-in ballot request will get to Hogan's office, he warned.

"You probably need to call us and not send us a piece of mail," he said. "Mail sometimes gets slowed down and doesn't get to the office, so I would encourage everyone to make the call. It's the easiest and quickest way."

Screenshot 2023-01-20 155841.jpg
Nassau County Supervisor of Elections
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New Nassau County vote-by-mail envelopes.

Other ways to cast ballots

Early voting in Duval County will be held March 6 to 19, with drop boxes available inside 18 early voting locations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Early voting ballots can also be turned in at the Supervisor of Elections Main Office at 105 E. Monroe St.

If you still vote on Election Day, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Any voters still in line at 7 p.m. will be permitted to cast a ballot, however long it takes.

Those who vote at their precinct or the supervisor of elections office must provide a current, valid ID with a photo and signature. That includes a Florida driver’s license or identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, as well as a U.S. passport, debit or credit card and a military or student ID card.

More information on vote-by-mail in nearby counties:

Duval County's Supervisor of Elections Office has a question and answer page on its website for those with queries about voting by mail.

Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years as a radio, television and print reporter in the Jacksonville area, as well as years of broadcast work in the Northeast. You can reach Dan at dscanlan@wjct.org, (904) 607-2770 or on Twitter at @scanlan_dan.