ALERT: Due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), all Florida voters are encouraged to request an absentee ballot for the upcoming August primary. You can request your ballot today and it will be mailed sometime between July 9–16. You can request your mail ballot from the Supervisor of Elections website online at https://www.votepinellas.com/VoteByMail, or by calling (727) 464-VOTE (8683).
Deadline to request a ballot to be mailed: August 8, 2020 at 5:00 pm
Vote By Mail
First of all, you need to register to vote. Once you’ve registered, you have four ways to request a vote-by-mail ballot from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections:
- Online: Fill out the Mail Ballot Request Form
- Phone: 727-464-8683 (VOTE)
- Email: MailBallotRequests@VotePinellas.com
- Mail: Send a written request to the Supervisor of Elections at 13001 Starkey Rd., Largo, FL 33773
When you request your ballot, you must provide:
- Full name
- Current residence address
- Current mailing address (if different than your residence)
- Date of birth
We suggest you provide your phone number and email address so the Supervisor of Elections office can quickly contact you if there is a problem or a question.
You can request a vote-by-mail ballot at any time.
The deadline to have a vote-by-mail ballot sent to you is 10 days before Election Day. However, when you factor in the time required for the ballot to get to you and for you to fill it out and return it, you’ll probably need more time than that. That’s why we recommend you request your vote-by-mail ballot as soon as you decide to get one.
If you miss the 10-day deadline, you can still request a vote-by-mail ballot, but you will need to pick it up from one of the three Supervisor of Elections offices:
- 501 1st Ave N in St Petersburg
- 315 Court St in Clearwater
- 13001 Starkey Road in Largo
We recommend you call 727-464-8683 in advance to request the ballot if you need to do this.
You have the right to pick up your vote-by-mail ballot on Election Day, but we recommend you avoid doing this if possible. The staff is very busy in the days leading up to the election, so save yourself and the staff some grief and avoid waiting until the last minute to pick up your vote-by-mail ballot unless you have no other choice.
If you haven’t signed up to vote by mail by Election Day and you find that you need to request one, you can do so. However, you must attest that you are experiencing an emergency that will not allow you to vote otherwise. To do so, fill out and sign this affidavit (English | Spanish) confirming you won’t be able to vote at your polling place on Election Day due to an emergency.
Again, we recommend requesting your vote-by-mail ballot as soon as possible so you do not run the risk of encountering last-minute complications on or near Election Day.
The actual process of voting by mail is very similar to the process of voting in person. When you fill out your ballot, make sure to do the following:
- DO use black ink.
- DO fill in the oval next to your preferred candidate’s name
- DON’T circle or underline your preferred candidate’s name.
- DON’T circle or underline your preferred party’s name under the assumption that this will be counted as votes for that party’s candidates on your ballot.
- DON’T mark the ballot outside of the ovals.
Once you have filled out your ballot, put it into the secrecy sleeve it came with, then put the ballot and secrecy sleeve inside the return envelope, and seal the envelope.
This is very important: SIGN YOUR NAME ON THE BACK OF THE ENVELOPE. The Supervisor of Elections has said people failing to sign their envelopes is the number one reason for problems with voting by mail, so this is a very simple and effective way to ensure your vote is counted.
Writing your phone number and email on the envelope is optional, but we recommend you include it so the Supervisor of Elections can quickly contact you if there’s a problem with your signature. Otherwise they will contact you via mail.
Ballots for overseas voters are mailed 45 days before Election Day, and ballots for domestic voters are mailed 40 days before Election Day. After this, ballots are mailed out as requests are received and processed.
In 2020, VBM ballots for domestic voters will be mailed out July 14 for the August primary and September 29 for the November general. Please note that it may take a few days for you to receive your ballot.
If Election Day is 3-4 weeks away and you have not received your vote-by-mail ballot, call the Supervisor of Elections at 727-464-8683. The delay may be due to a system backlog.
If your ballot is truly lost, you can request a replacement ballot. Up to three are available for each voter, but only the first ballot received by the Supervisor of Elections will be counted.
You have three ways to get your vote-by-mail ballot to the Supervisor of Elections:
1. MAIL IT: Your 2020 ballot will already have postage on it, according to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, so you just need to drop it in the U.S. Mail - no stamps necessary!
Your ballot must be at the Supervisor of Elections office by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Contrary to popular belief, a postmark date before that time is not sufficient. Because post offices see high volume around elections, we recommend mailing it at least 10 days before Election Day to ensure it gets there in time and to give you plenty of time to resolve any issues that may arise. The earlier you mail it, the better!
2. DROP IT OFF IN PERSON: Vote-by-mail ballots can only be dropped off at designated locations during specific times.
This year, over 20 vote-by-mail ballot drop-off locations will be available across the county, with no resident living more than three miles from a drop-off site, according to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections.
However, we don’t yet have details of this expanded plan. In the past, the opening days and hours of different drop-off locations have varied, so we urge everyone to check votepinellas.com to confirm times and locations before going to drop off a vote-by-mail ballot.
What we do know for certain is that all three main Supervisor of Elections offices will be accepting vote-by-mail ballots up until 7 p.m. on Election Day. Those offices are located at:
- 501 1st Ave. N in St Petersburg
- 315 Court St. in Clearwater
- 13001 Starkey Road in Largo
3. ASK SOMEONE ELSE TO DROP IT OFF FOR YOU: You can ask a friend, family member or neighbor to drop your ballot off for you (as long as no payment or other compensation is exchanged).
If you have a vote-by-mail ballot but you decide you want to vote in person on Election Day or during early voting instead, you can!
Bring your vote-by-mail ballot to your polling place and give it to the poll worker, who will cancel your vote-by-mail ballot and give you an in-person ballot so you can vote at the polling place.
IMPORTANT: You cannot drop off your completed vote-by-mail ballot at your polling place on Election Day. Every election, our Voter and Election Protection team’s poll monitors report many instances of voters attempting to drop off their vote-by-mail ballots at polling places on Election Day. You cannot do this! You must either turn in your vote-by-mail ballot and vote with an in-person ballot, or you must take your vote-by-mail ballot to one of the three Supervisor of Elections offices by 7 p.m.
Here are some things to be aware of when voting in person after requesting a vote-by-mail ballot:
- If you’ve already filled out your vote-by-mail ballot, you can take a photo of it with your phone and use it for reference in the voting booth. However, you cannot take both ballots with you into the voting booth.
- If you show up at your polling place without your vote-by-mail ballot, the poll workers will check the system or contact the Supervisor of Elections office to confirm the office has not already received your vote-by-mail ballot. Once that’s confirmed, you’ll be given an in-person ballot to vote.
- If the office cannot confirm that your vote-by-mail ballot has not already been cast, you’ll still be able to vote, but you will be given a provisional ballot. Be aware that you may need to follow up to cure your ballot. This process is in place to ensure voters cannot vote twice.
- You MUST vote in the correct polling place for your current residence. If you cast a provisional ballot while at the wrong polling place, your vote might not be counted.
If you recently moved, you can change your address at the polls (or by calling the Supervisor of Elections office in advance), so be sure to go to the polling place for your new residence. You can find the correct polling place for your current residence by using the “Find Precinct” tool.
You can track the status of your ballot online by using the Track Your Ballot tool. If the tool displays the status of “Received,” you’re OK. That basically means your ballot has been received, the signatures match and the ballot is ready to be counted when tabulation starts.
If you do not see “Received” when you check the status of your ballot, you have two options:
- You can wait a little longer. There may be backlogs and delays in the system, which could affect the speed with which ballots are processed.
- You can contact the Supervisor of Elections. If you mailed your ballot in a timely fashion and the status has not been updated to “Received” after 10-14 days, we suggest you call 727-464-8683 to determine your next steps.
Please note that if there’s a problem with your ballot, the status will be updated to reflect that.
Vote-by-mail ballots marked “Received” will have that status even on Election Day. This is not indicative of an issue with your ballot! The online system does not update the statuses to “tabulated” in real time. This status will generally appear after Election Day, and in batches.
The Supervisor of Elections is legally required to notify you so you can fix the problem by 5 p.m. on the Thursday after Election Day. You will be notified by mail, but if you provided your phone number and/or email address on your voter registration or your ballot envelope, you will also be notified using those methods as well. This is why we strongly recommend you include your phone number and/or email address on your ballot envelope.
No. While most mail will be forwarded to the recipient’s new address, vote-by-mail ballots cannot be forwarded. That means you will not receive your ballot if you have not updated your address.
We urge you to contact the Supervisor of Elections as soon as possible after moving to update your address. You can update your address the following ways:
- Online: Address Change Service
- Phone: 727-464-8683
You can update your address on file with the Supervisor of Elections on Election Day. Pinellas County has electronic poll books, which allow poll workers to update your address at the polling place. However, we recommend calling the Supervisor of Elections to make this change, as doing so at a polling place on Election Day may be a stressful experience for all involved.
You have the right to request up to three replacement ballots. To request one, call the Supervisor of Elections at 727-464-8683.
Please note that if you return multiple ballots, the Supervisor of Elections will only count the first one it receives.
When your ballot arrives at the Supervisor of Elections office, the signature on the back of the envelope will be compared to the signature that the Supervisor of Elections has on file for you.
If you registered to vote online, the signature on your Florida driver license or Florida ID will be used. If you registered or updated your voter record with a paper form, the signature on the most recent paper form is used.
If you’re concerned that your signature on file may no longer match the signature you use, you can update your signature using the Voter Registration Application (English / Spanish). Fill it out, sign it, make sure to mark “Record Update/Change” and send it to the Supervisor of Elections.
Be aware that your signature on file is not automatically updated every time you vote, whether that’s in person or by mail, so if you want to update your signature, you must follow the process outlined above.
If your ballot is noted as having a signature issue, you have until 5 p.m. on the Thursday after Election Day to resolve it. This may require you to sign a signature affidavit.