Absentee Ballot FAQs

Who is entitled to vote by absentee ballot?
Florida Statutes state that any qualified elector may vote by absentee ballot. One request shall be deemed sufficient to receive a ballot for all elections through the next regularly scheduled general election, unless otherwise specified by the voter or the voter's designee at the time the request is made (F.S. 101.62(1)(a)).

How may a person request an absentee ballot?
A voter may request an absentee ballot online, in person, in writing or by telephone by calling the Supervisor of Elections office (850) 784-6100. The voter must specify the election(s) and provide voter's name, residence address, and date of birth. Written requests MUST be signed (F.S. 101.62(1)(b)).

Is there a deadline for requesting an absentee ballot?
If a request for an absentee ballot is received after the Friday before the election by the Supervisor of Elections from an overseas voter, the supervisor shall send a notice to the voter acknowledging receipt of his or her request and notifying the voter that the ballot will not be sent due to insufficient time for return of the ballot by the required deadline. Voters must request their ballots enough in advance so that they can be sure to have them back to the Supervisor of Elections office no later than 7:00 p.m. on election day (F.S. 101.62(a)).

When are absentee ballots available?
Absentee ballots are normally available about four (4) weeks prior to the election.

May a person other than the voter request an absentee ballot?
nly the voter, a member of the voter's immediate family, or the legal guardian may request an absentee ballot. A requester other than the voter must provide his/her name, address, Drivers License (if available) and relationship to the voter (F.S.101.62(1)(b)).

How often are absentee ballots mailed?
Once the initial mailing has taken place absentee ballots are mailed on a daily basis, Monday-Friday, except for holidays.

Can absentee ballots be sent to any address?
No. Absentee ballots must be mailed to the voter's current mailing address on file with the Supervisor or unless the voter is (1) Absent from Bay County and does not plan to return prior to election day; (2) Voter is temporarily in a hospital, Nursing home, etc. (3) voter is eligible for an absentee ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Voting Act, (4) voter is unable to occupy the residence because of an emergency or natural disaster (F.S. 101.62(4)(b)).

May I pick up an absentee ballot?
A registered voter may pick up an absentee ballot for himself or herself at the Supervisor's office as long as he or she presents signature and picture identification (F.S. 101.62(4)(b)(3.)). Time frame for this emergency only at discretion of the SOE.

May I pick up an absentee ballot for another person?
You may pick up an absentee ballot for another person if; (1) You have a letter signed by the voter giving you authorization to pick up the ballot, (2) The request is made no earlier than the fifth (5th) day prior to election day, (3) You present a picture ID of yourself, (4) You sign an affidavit (F.S. 101.62(4)(b)(4.)).

May I pick up an absentee ballot for my neighbors?
For each election you may pick up absentee ballots for only two (2) persons other than yourself, unless they are members of your immediate family (F.S. 101.62(4)(b)(4.)).

May a candidate solicit requests for absentee ballots?
Yes. However, if you are going to solicit by mail, we urge you to let us review your mailer to ensure it asks for the correct information from the voter and or designee.

May a candidate get a list of everyone who has requested an absentee ballot?
Yes. We can provide the name and addresses of all voters who have requested ballots for an election to Candidates , Political Parties and Political Committees. (F.S. 98.095)

Is there a charge?
No. Files are provided electronically at no charge. (A paper list may be provided at a cost of 15 cents per page if requested.) In addition an oath has to be completed stating you are eligible to receive a list.

May a candidate get a list each day?
Yes. Lists are prepared at the end of each day and are automatically uploaded to the Candidate File Distribution link on the Supervisor of Elections website. No names will be given over the telephone.

Are all absentee ballots counted?
Absentee ballots must be canvassed by the County Canvassing Board. Unless an absentee ballot is rejected as illegal by the Canvassing Board, it will be counted (F.S. 101.68(2)(c)1.).

What could cause an absentee ballot to be rejected as illegal?
An absentee ballot will be rejected if; (1) It is not signed by voter, (2) Signature does not match the voter, (3) Absentee ballot received after 7 p.m. on election day.

May a candidate look through the absentee ballots which are returned?
A candidate, as well as any member of the general public, may be present when the absentee ballots are being canvassed and while they are being opened. However, only the Supervisor, Staff, or the Canvassing Board shall handle any official ballot (F.S. 101.572).

Will an absentee ballot be counted if it is postmarked on election day?
An absentee ballot can only be counted if it's received in the Supervisor of Elections office prior to 7 p.m. on election day and is otherwise valid (F.S. 101.65). The only exception to this are ballots received within ten (10) days from the date of the election from military overseas voters. These ballots will be counted as long as the Voter's Certificate is completed correctly and the absentee ballot is dated on or before the date of the election, regardless of the absence of a postmark or the existence of a postmark date that is later than the date of the election (F.S. 101.6952).

May an absentee ballot be hand-delivered to the elections office?
Yes. Again, it must be delivered prior to 7 p.m. on election day for the ballot to count (F.S. 101.65(9)).

How do voters in Nursing Homes vote by absentee ballot?
The elections office in conjunction with all Nursing Home facilities have a program in place to ensure that all eligible residents who wish to vote may do so (F.S. 101.655). 

Nina Ward,
Supervisor of Elections
Bay County
830 W. 11th St.
Panama City, FL








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