Election season is incredibly exciting for anyone who wants to make their voice heard and participate in their civic duty. A ballot is more than a piece of paper. It has the power to change the course of American history, or at least change who will represent you and lead you in the coming years.
Check out a few of these common questions if you want to register to vote and to see if you qualify.
Who Can Vote?
In order to vote, you must be a US citizen and a legal resident of Florida and the county you wish to vote in. You must be 18 years of age, although you may pre-register at 16. If you have been judged mentally incompetent to vote, or are a convicted felon, then you cannot vote unless you have had your civil rights restored by the state.
How Do I Register to Vote?
Pinellas County has a number of ways that you can register to vote. A few of the most common locations include:
- The Departmentof Motor Vehicle offices
- The Local Board of Elections
- Any Pinellas County Library or Petersburg Public Library
- Any armed services recruitment office
- With a number of Voter Registration Organizations (including the League of Women Voters)
What Documents Do I Need to Vote?
For your initial registration, you will need to provide a current Florida Driver’s license or Florida identification card (these are preferred).If you don’t have one of those state issued IDs, you will need to provide the last four digits of you Social Security number.
If you don’t have a social security number, you need to check none on the DS-DE 39form line 5.You will need to provide at least one other proof of identity such as copy of an ID that shows your name and photo (for example a U.S. Passport) or a copy of an ID that shows your name and current address (acceptable documents are utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document).
These required documents are listed on the application Form DS-DE 39, available online.The special ID is not required in certain limited circumstances, also listed on Form DS-DE 39.
What are the Registration Deadlines?
You must register at least 29 days before the election in which you wish to vote.
Florida has a closed primary system. This means that you can only vote in a primary if you are registered in that party.If you are unaffiliated, you may not vote in any primary. If you have moved between Florida counties, or want to change your name or party affiliation, you must re-submit a completed Form DS-DE 39 to your county Supervisor of Elections by the deadline.
When Do I Get My Voter Registration Card?
You should get your card within two weeks of your registration.If you do not, contact your county Supervisor of Elections (The phone number for Pinellas County is 727-464-8683).
How can I Check My Registration?
You may check your registration status and find your polling place online at the Florida Department of State website.
About Voter Privacy
Note that Voter Registrations are public record. Public information includes your name, address, phone number, date of birth and email address.Under some limited situations, your address may be confidential (for example individuals who are victims of domestic assault or stalking and are registered as such with the Attorney General). Your signature may be viewed, but not copied.Your voting history (if you voted, not for whom) is also public record.
Information NOT made public includes your Social security number, driver’s license or identification numbers and where you filed your application.
There are dozens of people, groups, and organizations around Pinellas County who want to help you vote! if you have any additional questions, reach out the League of Women Voters in the area, or contact the Local Board of Elections.