Today I’m taking a short break from my research on the issues at stake in the August 26 School Board elections to write this post asking you to PLEASE be sure to request and use a absentee ballot, rather than voting in person either early or on Election Day. Remember, no excuse is needed; anyone can request a vote-by-mail ballot.
Voter turnout in mid-term elections is notoriously bad, and turnout for primary elections is always worse that the general elections. It’s even worse in Florida, where our mid-term elections are in August, when many of our voters are out of town.
In the past, the candidates that successfully mobilized absentee voters have won elections. Here in Collier County, getting out the absentee vote will be critical to any candidate’s success.
Have you already requested a mail ballot?
Great! But check with the Supervisor of Elections (SOE) to confirm that they have your request.
Go to https://www.electionsfl.org/collier/index.php?mais=Y and enter your last name, birth date and the house number of your residence address.
Confirm your voter status in the first blue box on the page, and then under “Future Elections,” click “Show My Absentee/Mail Ballot Information” and confirm that the ballot destination is correct. If it isn’t, follow up with the SOE immediately at 239-252-VOTE (8683).
Haven’t requested your ballot yet?
It’s not too late. The request must be received by the SOE no later than 5pm on the sixth day before the election, in this case no later than August 20. But don’t wait! The SOE strongly recommends getting the request in much sooner.
• Online Absentee Ballot Request Form
• By mail or in person – Collier County Supervisor of Elections, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Bldg., Collier Government Complex, 3295 Tamiami Trl E, Naples, Florida 34112-5758
• By telephone – 239-252-VOTE (8683)
Please note that if you are requesting that a mail ballot be sent to an address that is not currently on file for you with the Florida Voter Registration System, the request must be in writing and signed by the voter. Written signed requests can be received by mail, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or fax (239-252-2630).
When will you receive the ballot?
For domestic voters whose requests have been received and processed, mailing will begin on July 22.
Be sure to be on the lookout for your ballot, and follow up if you don’t receive it when expected. Do NOT wait until the last minute! In the past, I’ve had to make arrangements to have a ballot FedEx’d to me because of a foul-up with the post office. And your vote is too important to leave to chance.
You can follow-up on the status of your ballot online at www.colliervotes.com or simply call the SOE at 239-252-VOTE (8683) and ask them to check it for you.
Your most important votes
As I wrote in this blog last month, there are a number of races on the ballot for the August 26 Primary Election, but our votes in the three school board races will be the most important. Why? Because the people we elect will make policies that will directly shape the young people who become the voting citizens and leaders of Collier County’s future. And – as I’ve been writing in this blog – many of those policy decisions are controversial. There are real differences among the candidates, and the candidates that get out the most voters will win.
So please – if you haven’t already done so, request an absentee ballot as soon as possible. Follow up to make sure you receive it, and mail it in on time. Don’t forget to sign and date the back of the envelope, when you do.
And continue to read this blog. We’ve completed our meetings with the candidates and will be sharing our observations and recommendations soon.