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florida > The Florida Election Code > Voting Methods And Procedure

§ 101.65 Instructions to absent electors.

Overview of Statute

This statute provides the instructions that the supervisor of elections encloses with every absentee ballot. There are 10 instructions that range from the procedure for mailing the ballots back after voting to the fact that it is a felony to accept any sort of payment for voting a certain way.

Statute

The supervisor shall enclose with each vote-by-mail ballot separate printed instructions in substantially the following form:

READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY
BEFORE MARKING BALLOT.

1. VERY IMPORTANT. In order to ensure that your absentee ballot will be counted, it should be completed and returned as soon as possible so that it can reach the supervisor of elections of the county in which your precinct is located no later than 7 p.m. on the day of the election. However, if you are an overseas voter casting a ballot in a presidential preference primary or general election, your absentee ballot must be postmarked or dated no later than the date of the election and received by the supervisor of elections of the county in which you are registered to vote no later than 10 days after the date of the election.

2. Mark your ballot in secret as instructed on the ballot. You must mark your own ballot unless you are unable to do so because of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write.

3. Mark only the number of candidates or issue choices for a race as indicated on the ballot. If you are allowed to “Vote for One” candidate and you vote for more than one candidate, your vote in that race will not be counted.

4. Place your marked ballot in the enclosed secrecy envelope.

5. Insert the secrecy envelope into the enclosed mailing envelope which is addressed to the supervisor.

6. Seal the mailing envelope and completely fill out the Voter’s Certificate on the back of the mailing envelope.

7. VERY IMPORTANT. In order for your absentee ballot to be counted, you must sign your name on the line above (Voter’s Signature). An absentee ballot will be considered illegal and not be counted if the signature on the voter’s certificate does not match the signature on record. The signature on file at the start of the canvass of the absentee ballots is the signature that will be used to verify your signature on the voter’s certificate. If you need to update your signature for this election, send your signature update on a voter registration application to your supervisor of elections so that it is received no later than the start of the canvassing of absentee ballots, which occurs no earlier than the 15th day before election day.

8. VERY IMPORTANT. If you are an overseas voter, you must include the date you signed the Voter’s Certificate on the line above (Date) or your ballot may not be counted.

9. Mail, deliver, or have delivered the completed mailing envelope. Be sure there is sufficient postage if mailed.

10. FELONY NOTICE. It is a felony under Florida law to accept any gift, payment, or gratuity in exchange for your vote for a candidate. It is also a felony under Florida law to vote in an election using a false identity or false address, or under any other circumstances making your ballot false or fraudulent.

History:

s. 5, ch. 7380, 1917; RGS 372; CGL 433; s. 1, ch. 25385, 1949; s. 5, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 35, ch. 28156, 1953; s. 23, ch. 29934, 1955; s. 34, ch. 65-380; s. 4, ch. 71-149; s. 9, ch. 72-63; s. 2, ch. 73-105; s. 7, ch. 73-157; ss. 3, 4, ch. 75-174; s. 23, ch. 77-175; s. 2, ch. 81-106; s. 10, ch. 81-304; s. 11, ch. 82-143; s. 7, ch. 83-251; s. 3, ch. 85-226; s. 2, ch. 86-33; s. 589, ch. 95-147; s. 5, ch. 96-57; s. 16, ch. 98-129; s. 33, ch. 99-2; s. 54, ch. 2001-40; s. 20, ch. 2003-415; s. 2, ch. 2004-232; s. 38, ch. 2011-40; s. 12, ch. 2013-57.

Definition [Supervisor]

The supervisor of elections.

Definition [Overseas Voter]

(a) An absent uniformed services voter who, by reason of active duty or service, is absent from the United States on the date of the election involved;

(b) A person who resides outside the United States and is qualified to vote in the last place in which the person was domiciled before leaving the United States; or

(c) A person who resides outside the United States and, but for such residence, would be qualified to vote in the last place in which the person was domiciled before leaving the United States.

Definition [General Election]

An election held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in the even-numbered years, for the purpose of filling national, state, county, and district offices and for voting on constitutional amendments not otherwise provided for by law.

Definition [Secrecy Envelope]

As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, secrecy envelope means an opaque device, used for enclosing a marked ballot, which conceals the voter’s choices.

Definition [Issue]

A proposition that is required by the State Constitution, by law or resolution of the Legislature, or by the charter, ordinance, or resolution of a political subdivision of this state to be submitted to the electors for their approval or rejection at an election, or a proposition for which a petition is circulated in order to have such proposition placed on the ballot at an election.

Definition [Ballot]

As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, ballot means the card, tape, or other vehicle upon which the elector’s choices are recorded.

Definition [Election]

Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election.

Definition [Candidate]

Any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:

(a) Any person who seeks to qualify for nomination or election by means of the petitioning process.
(b) Any person who seeks to qualify for election as a write-in candidate.
(c) Any person who receives contributions or makes expenditures, or gives his or her consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures, with a view to bringing about his or her nomination or election to, or retention in, public office.
(d) Any person who appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository.
(e) Any person who files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate’s oath as required by law.
This definition does not include any candidate for a political party executive committee.

Cases

florida Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Case State: alabama

Case Name: Wakulla County Absentee Voter Intervenors v. Flack

Citation: 419 So.2d 1124

Year: 1982

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/7b36aba77fe4bf69c088614218e57b0d?query=Wakulla[...]

Case Summary: Wakulla County Absentee Voter Intervenors v. Flack held that when absentee voters were provided improper assistance in the casting of their ballots, the sanctity of the ballot and the validity of the election were adversely affected. The candidate at issue, a county judge, was certified and commissioned in that office.

Federal Cases

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 153, Voting instructions

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 157, Secrecy in voting

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 163, Furnishing ballots

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 164, Casting ballots

  • 0050 Surveys 8; Marking and Counting of Ballots