US Election 2020: what are the absentee ballot deadlines in Florida?

There is still time in Florida to cast your absentee ballot for the US presidential election. We outline the important deadlines ahead of election day on 3 November.

US Election 2020: what are the absentee ballot deadlines in Florida?

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the United States Postal Service is set to handle the biggest mail-in ballot in US presidential history as voters opt to stay away from election-day polling stations due to health and safety concerns.

Millions of Americans are taking advantage of relaxed rules surrounding absentee ballots in order to cast their vote for the next US president by mail, including many in Florida, where several hundred thousand have already sent back their mail-in votes.

But Florida residents who have yet to organize and send their absentee ballot still have time to do so before the election on 3 November, which sees incumbent Donald Trump go head-to-head with Democratic candidate and former vice-president, Joe Biden. Below we outline the important dates regarding absentee ballots in Florida.

DORAL, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 15: (L-R) Milena Abreu, County Judge, Victoria Ferrer, County Judge, and Christina White, Supervisor of Elections, inspect Vote-by-Mail ballots for valid signatures.

US Election 2020: Florida absentee ballot deadlines

First, it must be noted that a vote-by-mail ballot can be returned by mail or delivered in person.

What is the deadline to request that a vote-by-mail ballot be sent by mail?

The deadline to request for your vote-by-mail ballot to be sent by mail is no later than 5 p.m. on the 10th day before the election, i.e. 24 October for the 2020 Presidential election.

A Supervisor of Elections is required to mail the ballot no later than two business days after a request. This means that the last day that a Supervisor will be able to mail out a ballot is eight days before the election, i.e. 26 October for the 2020 Presidential election.

Who can pick up a vote-by-mail ballot and when?

If a voter chooses to pick up their ballot, they can do so at any time once the ballot becomes available, including Election Day. A voter's designee can pick up a ballot but no earlier than nine days before Election Day.

DORAL, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 14: A poll workers places Vote-by Mail ballots into a ballot box set up at the Miami-Dade Election Department headquarters on October 14, 2020 in Doral, Florida.

What is the deadline to return a vote-by-mail Ballot?

The Supervisor of Elections' office must receive the mail-in ballot no later than 7:00 pm (local time) on Election Day (3 November). A 10-day extension exists for overseas voters only for Presidential Preference Primary and General Elections.

The USPS advises voters to vote and return their vote-by-mail ballots as soon as they receive them or early enough to account for mail delivery times, in order to guarantee that ballots are received by the deadline.

Early voting period

By US law, early voting must held for at least eight days. So in the case of this year’s presidential election, the early voting period will be 24-31 October. Each county’s Supervisor of Elections may offer more days of early voting from one or more of the following days: October 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and November 1. You can check with your county Supervisor of Elections for the additional days of early voting that may be offered in your county.