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Accessible Voting

Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind Resolution:

 WHEREAS, by 2006 every county in Florida had voting machines that allowed people who are blind to vote privately and independently; and

 WHEREAS, in 2007 the government of Florida decided that every county needed to acquire and use machines for voting that included an auditable paper ballot; and

 WHEREAS, it was decided that the exception to this rule would be voters with disabilities who were to continue to vote on the machines that had been deemed inappropriate for use by the rest of the population; and

 WHEREAS, the law anticipated that, by the year 2012, machines would be purchased in the 64 counties who used machines that did not have appropriate voting devices that would bring them into compliance with the law for people with disabilities as well; and

 WHEREAS, in 2010 all the supervisors of elections supported legislation that passed which extended the date by which machines used by disabled people must be compliant to the year 2016; and

 WHEREAS, last year the legislature passed and the Governor signed a law that included a provision that postponed compliance till the year 2020; and

 WHEREAS, neither the Secretary of State nor the legislature made any effort to consult people with disabilities about this decision;

 NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind assembled in St. Petersburg Florida on this the 25th day of April 2014 that this organization wishes to express our deep concern that people with disabilities including those who are blind or have low vision continue to be asked to use machines that were declared unusable for other voters; and

 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Council urges the Governor and the Secretary of State and the legislature to act to assure that the pernicious exception to the voting laws that continues to cripple the voting rights of people with disabilities is repealed so that people with disabilities will be able to vote using machines with the same protections that others who vote now have.

 Copies of this resolution shall be sent to the Governor, the Secretary of State and to all members of the Vision Caucus.

Are You Registered To Vote?

To Vote in Florida:

  • You must be a resident of Florida
  • You must be a United States Citizen
  • You must be at least 18 years old on or before Election Day
  • You must be registered to vote.

Visit these websites for more information and resources:

Publications and other resources:

  • Florida Rights Restoration Coalition website

  •  Election Protection website

  • Voting in Florida - A Guide for Citizens with Disabilities booklet was published by Disability Rights Florida and the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council. You may print it from this link or from the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council’s publication page. You may also order copies online at the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council’s publication page. Scroll down to “Voting in Florida - A Guide for Citizens with Disabilities,” then click “Order Online.” The guides will be shipped to you at no charge

Make an Impact: Register and Vote! flyer

Loss of Right to Vote

There are only two ways you can lose your right to vote under Florida law:

  • The first way is if a judge finds that under Florida's guardianship laws, you are mentally incapacitated with regard to voting

  • The second way is if a court has convicted you of a felony and suspended your civil rights

Only a court can take away your right to vote.

No one else - not a guardian advocate, not an election official, not a caregiver, not a family member or anyone else, has the legal authority to prevent you from voting.

If you need assistance protecting your right to vote, you may contact Disability Rights Florida.

Guardianship

A judge can take away your right to vote if the judge finds that you are mentally incapacitated with respect to voting. If you have been found to be incapacitated but believe your rights, including your right to vote should be restored, contact Disability Rights Florida to request assistance.

Felony Criminal Conviction

In Florida, a person who has been convicted of a felony and whose civil rights have been suspended, may not vote unless the right to vote has been restored. Help is available to people, including people with disabilities, to pursue the restoration of their rights through the Florida Parole Commission Office of Executive Clemency.

Visit the Links tab to access the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and Florida Parole Commission Office of Executive Clemency websites for more information.

Four Ways to Vote

Florida law provides that as a registered voter, you may choose one of four ways to vote:

Early Voting

Early voting in Florida begins 10 days before each state or federal election and ends on the 3rd day before that election.

Early voting requires that you, the registered voter, vote in person at a voting site designated by the Supervisor of Elections for early voting. If you vote early, you will use the same type of voting equipment used on Election Day and you must bring a valid picture identification with signature. See below for details regarding accepted forms of identification.

Voting at the Polls on Election Day

Contact your Supervisor of Elections or visit their website to learn which precinct and polling place you need to go to.

When you vote, bring a valid picture identification with signature. The following photo identification is accepted:

  • Florida driver’s license

  • Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

  • United States passport

  • Debit or credit card

  • Military identification

  • Student identification

  • Retirement center identification

  • Neighborhood association identification

  • Public assistance identification

If your photo identification does not contain your signature, you will be asked to provide an additional identification that includes a signature.

If you do not have proper identification, your vote will be considered "provisional" but will later be counted if the signature on the "provisional" ballot envelope is found to match the signature on your voter registration application.

Absentee Voting or Voting by Mail

Florida law allows you, as a registered voter, to request an absentee ballot from the Supervisor of Elections.

A member of your immediate family or a legal guardian may also request an absentee ballot for you, if directly instructed to do so by the voter. The request can cover two general election cycles and details can be obtained from your Supervisor of Election.

A request for an absentee ballot to be mailed must be made no later than 5 p.m. on the 6th day before an election.

Florida law allows you to have assistance marking your choices on your absentee ballot if such assistance is required because of blindness, disability or inability to read or write.

At an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home

If you live at an Assisted Living Facility or in a Nursing Home, Florida law requires that a Supervisor of Election set up and facilitate absentee voting within the assisted living facility or nursing home whenever the facility administrator makes a timely and proper request. The request must be submitted at least 21 days before the election and list at least five voters who wish to vote at the facility. If fewer than five names appear on the request, the Supervisor is not required to set up and facilitate the absentee voting.