Don’t let the virus silence your voice – How to Vote Carefully in the time of Covid-19

Register or Verify your Voter’s Registration and Sign up for Vote by Mail. Also Check your Signature so that your vote is counted and Track Your Ballot.

In June of 2018, I wrote a blog entitled “Voting is a right of U.S. Citizens as Well as a Responsibility”. It can be found here. I bring this up again because of the importance of voting in these unsettling times. We need to be prepared in the event we do not feel safe going in person to vote. 

Voter Registration 

If you are a citizen and are not registered to vote yet please do this today. It takes about two minutes to register online. Please go to https://registertovoteflorida.gov/home and register today or update your registration. This may be done in English or Spanish.  If you or someone you know is at least 16 years old, they may preregister.

Vote by Mail – preserve your option

In writing this blog, I went online to review the process and to see how easy it was and to see how to request Vote by Mail Ballots.  I could not find a link to this on the register to vote site mentioned about though I thought it should have been there. To request a Vote by Mail Ballot you will have to go to https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/voting/vote-by-mail 

Many people still refer the vote by mail ballot as an “absentee ballot” which was used when people did not think they would be in town to vote. Florida now allows anyone to vote by mail even if they are available to vote in person. In Florida, you can also vote during the early voting period which generally starts on the 10th day before the election and ends on the 3rd day before the election.  I have always enjoyed voting early in person rather than on election day because there are few lines making it quick and easy. Some prefer the excitement of voting on Election Day. 

Whatever your preference for voting, I am urging you to request Vote by Mail Ballots for this year.  We may well be impacted by Covid-19 for the primary election in August as well as the general election and it is especially important to vote this year.  Even if you request a Vote by Mail ballot, you do not have to use it. If conditions are safe and you wish to vote in person, simply bring your Vote by Mail Ballot, give it to the poll worker and tell her that you wish to vote in person. 

Check your signature – protect your vote

A study by the chair of the political science department at the University of Florida indicates that about 1.2 % of all mail ballots were rejected and not counted. This amounted to 32,400 rejected ballots in 2018. This was more than enough to change the outcome of the election. Ballots are rejected if they arrived late even if they were postmarked on time. There is legislation pending to count all ballots received within 10 days of the election if they were postmarked on time. You might want to check out the Wyden-Klobuchar proposal. Ballots are also rejected because they were not signed so please be sure to follow the instructions and sign your ballot. Mismatched signatures were also a big problem, so I am urging you to check your signature. If you registered to vote online, they will use the signature on your driver’s license. If you registered eons ago and do not know how you signed you may wish to update your signature. To do this, you must go to the county supervisor of elections. Instruction for this for Miami-Dade County can be found here. For Monroe County, you would go here. You will need to print the application, sign it, and mail it to the address provided.  I would advise that you take a copy of the signature before you mail it so that when you go to sign your ballot you can refer to it. 

How to track your ballot

Ballots can be tracked on the Florida Division of Elections website here or through the Supervisor of Elections offices visa website here or phone.

Please ensure that you will be able to vote this year. Also, please send this blog to anyone you know that might be urged to register of request Vote by Mail ballots. If you are not yet a citizen and wish to apply or citizenship, please let me know

Written by Linda M Kaplan

Linda M Kaplan

The Law Office of Linda M Kaplan, P.A. is a Miami-based immigration law firm serving both businesses and individual clients throughout the state of Florida, the United States, and numerous other countries around the world. We provide a uniquely personalized approach, offering precise legal guidance, unyielding advocacy, and a wide variety of innovative immigration and naturalization-related services to suit the various needs of all our clients. We have substantial experience and specialized knowledge in business immigration cases as well as family-based immigration and naturalization.