Dear Suwannee County Voter,
I hope you will find this guide helpful whether you’re a first-time voter to Suwannee County, or a seasoned voter. This guide will provide answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about registration and voting procedures.
I hope this guide will encourage your participation in the elections process. Should you need additional information please call our office at 386-362-2616 or by visiting our website at www.suwanneevotes.com.
Glenda B. Williams
Supervisor of Elections
THREE WAYS TO VOTE IN SUWANNEE COUNTY
Vote Election day At Your Precinct
On Election Day the polls are open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Although there has been many changes to voting since 2000, in Suwannee County our primary method of voting is still the paper ballots we have used for years. To vote, simply fill in the oval next to the candidate or issue of choice, then go to the voting tabulator and slide your ballot in the machine. It is that simple and easy.
A qualified voter may vote in person during the eight day period prior to an election at our three Early Voting Locations located at The Judicial Annex, 218 Parshley St., Live Oak; at the Dowling Park Library, 10655 Dowling Park, Dr. at the Advent Christian Village in Dowling Park; or at the Branford Library 703 NW Suwannee Ave., Branford. The voter must present both picture and signature identification or vote a provisional ballot. A Florida Driver License or Identification Card will meet those requirements
Vote by Mail
Vote at your convenience – vote by mail (formally called absentee voting). Request your ballot from the elections office either in person, by phone call or by email. Your ballot will be mailed to you and must be returned to the elections office by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.
Who May Vote by Mai
All qualified voters in the state are permitted to vote by mail under Florida law.
(See section 97.021(1) and 101.62, Florida Statutes)
How To Vote by Mail
A voter, or, if directly instructed by the voter, a member of the voter’s immediate family or the voter’s legal guardian, may request a ballot from the supervisor of elections in person, by mail, by telephone, or by email. One request can cover all elections through the next two regularly scheduled general elections, 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 ballot. The person requesting a ballot must disclose:
The name of the voter for whom the ballot requested
The voter’s address
The voter’s date of birth
The requester’s name
The requester’s address
The requester’s relationship to the voter
The requester’s signature (written request only)
If the ballot is to be mailed to an address other than the one on file with the elections office the request must be in writing from the elector.
A non-family member or "designee" may pick up a ballot for a voter up to five days prior to Election Day but if a ballot is needed on Election Day the voter must execute an affidavit as to an emergency that would preclude the voter from going to their assigned polling place. A designee may only pick up two ballots per election, other than his or her own ballot or ballots for members of his or her immediate family. Designee's must have written authorization from the voter, present a picture identification, and sign an affidavit. Candidates may pick up ballots only for members of their immediate family.
Marked ballots must be mailed or delivered in person reaching the supervisor of elections’ office not later than 7 p.m. on the day of the election. Do not return your voted ballot to a polling place.
If you have obtained a ballot but want to vote in your precinct on Election Day, you must take the absentee ballot with you to the polls, whether or not it has been marked so that is can be cancelled. However, if you are unable to return the ballot, you may be required to vote a provisional ballot.
(See sections 101.048, 101.62 and 101.69, Florida Statutes)
ELECTION DAY INFORMATION
What To Expect At The Polls
Polls will be open on election day from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. local time.
To determine your polling place, check your voter information card, (also see or web site at http://suwanneevotes.com), or contact the supervisor of elections office. Any polling precinct updates are mailed to you on a Voter Information Card.
Current and valid photo and signature identification are required to vote at the polls. Acceptable forms of identification include:
Florida driver’s license
Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
United States Passport
Debit or credit card
Retirement center identification
Neighborhood association identification
Public assistance identification
If you do not have the proper identification, you will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot.
If you voted a provisional ballot solely because you did not bring photo and signature identification to the polls, you do not have to present further evidence of eligibility. The local canvassing board will simply compare your signature on the provisional ballot certificate with your signature on the voter registration record. If the signatures match, your provisional ballot will count (provided you were in the proper precinct). At the time you vote, you will be given a written notice of your rights as a provisional ballot voter. The notice will include a statement as to whether or not and by when you have to present further evidence of eligibility and information as to how to find out if the voter’s provisional ballot was counted, and if not the reason(s) why.
Once your identity has been established, you will be asked to sign the precinct register and then you will be allowed to vote.
If you need assistance in marking your ballot, please inform the poll worker.
If you make a mistake when voting on a paper ballot, ask for a replacement. You may receive up to two replacements, or a total of three ballots.
If your eligibility to vote cannot be determined, you will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot. A person casting a provisional ballot may present written evidence supporting his or her eligibility to vote to the supervisor of elections by no later than 5 p.m. on the second day following the election.
All voters who vote provisionally regardless of the reason are to be given a written notice of rights that includes:
A statement that the provisional ballot voter has until 5 p.m. of the second day to bring to the Supervisor of Elections written evidence of his or her eligibility.
A statement that a voter who votes a provisional ballot because he or she did not bring in identification does not need to bring in further evidence of eligibility. If the voter voted in the right precinct and the signature on the provisional ballot certificate matches the signature on the voter registration record, the provisional ballot will be counted.
Instructions as to how the provisional ballot voter may find out if his or her provisional ballot was counted, and if not, the reason(s) why.
A statement that if this is a primary election, the person should contact the supervisor of elections’ office immediately to confirm that the person is registered and can vote in the general election.
(See sections 101.048 and 101.043, Florida Statutes, and Rule 1S-2,037, Florida Administrative Code)
Florida is a closed primary state. Only voters who are registered members of political parties may vote for their respective party’s candidates in a primary election. Voters without party affiliation are not eligible to vote for major party candidates in a primary election. However, Article VI, Section 5(b), Florida Constitution, provides that if all candidates have the same party affiliation and the winner will have no opposition in the general election, all qualified voters, regardless of party affiliation, may vote in the primary election for that office. This is known as a Universal Primary Contest.
Nonpartisan judicial and school board offices, nonpartisan special districts and local referendum questions are included in a primary election. All registered voters, including those without party affiliation and minor political party voters, are entitled to receive and vote these ballots.
(See sections 100.051, 100.061 and 101.021, Florida Statutes, and Article VI, Section 5(b), Florida Constitution)
A general election is usually held on Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year to choose a successor to any federal, state, county, or district officer whose term will expire before the next general election. All voters are eligible to vote in a general election regardless of party affiliation.(See section 100.031, Florida Statutes)
Assistance In Voting
A person who is unable to read or write or who, because of a disability, needs assistance in voting, may designate someone of his or her own choice, other than an employer or an officer or agent of the person’s union, to provide such assistance. Election officials may also provide assistance.
(See section 97.061 and 101.051, Florida Statutes)
Nonpartisan Judicial Elections
Candidates for the Florida Supreme Court and District Court of Appeal will appear on the ballot in the general election for a vote on their retention. Candidates for circuit and county court judge will appear on the primary ballot and on the general election ballot, if necessary.
(See section 105.041, Florida Statutes)
Each political party and each candidate may have one poll watcher in each voting room at any one time during an election. Poll watchers must be registered voters in the county and cannot be candidates or law enforcements officers. Each party and each candidate requesting to have poll watchers must designate, in writing to the supervisor of elections, poll watchers for each precinct prior to noon of the second Tuesday preceding the election.
(See section 101.131, Florida Statutes)