November 3, Election Day, is just 60 days away. As I have done in the past, I will be researching the state and local candidates and issues that will be on Collier County voters’ ballots, and sharing what I learn in a series of “Get Ready to Vote” posts. This is the first in that series, and I will start with the basics.
Most election-related dates are set by the Florida Division of Elections and apply statewide. Some are at the discretion of County Supervisors of Elections.
What will be on Collier County voters’ ballots?
The Florida Division of Elections and Collier Supervisor of Elections websites provide listings of the offices on Collier voters’ ballots. According to the Collier County Supervisor of Elections office, your sample ballot should be available online the week of September 14th.
The sooner you know what will and will not be on your ballot, the sooner you can start your research to cast informed votes.
These offices will be on the ballot for some or all Collier voters:
- President and Vice President
- U.S. House of Representatives (if you live in Congressional District 19)
- State House (if you live in Districts 80, 105 or 106)
- Collier County Commission (if you live in Districts 1 or 5)
- Collier Mosquito Control District (if you live in the District)
- Greater Naples Fire District (if you live in the District)
- City of Marco Island City Council (if you live in the City)
There are six proposed amendments to the Florida constitution on the ballot. They are:
- Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections
- Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage
- All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet
- Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments
- Limitations on Homestead Property Tax Assessments; Increased Portability Period to Transfer Accrued Benefit
- Ad Valorem Tax Discount for Spouses of Certain Deceased Veterans Who Had Permanent, Combat-Related Disabilities
Conservation Collier Referendum
You will also have the opportunity to vote on a referendum to Reestablish Funding for Conservation Collier to Protect Water Quality, Water Resources, and Wildlife Habitat.
Six things to do right now
I encourage you to do these six things right now, either online at www.colliervotes.com or by calling the Supervisor of Elections at 239–252-VOTE (8683):
1. Request a Vote-By-Mail Ballot
Between the coronavirus and possible hurricanes, be prepared for the worst. Think of it as an insurance policy.
2. Check the Status of Your VBM Ballot Request
If you have already requested a mail ballot, confirm that your request was received and is active for the upcoming election. Past requests do expire; don’t assume anything!
3. Make Sure the Supervisor of Elections Has Your Current Address
Whether you have requested a Vote-By-Mail ballot or intend to vote in person, make sure the Supervisor of Elections has your current address.
Separately, if you requested a Vote-By-Mail ballot, know that the postal service will not forward it, even if you have arranged for mail forwarding. You MUST give the Supervisor of Elections the address to which your ballot want to receive the ballot.
4. Update Your Signature
Whether voting in person, by provisional ballot, or by Vote-By-Mail ballot, Florida election law requires each voter to sign a Voter’s Certificate. While an exact match of a voter’s signature is not required, the signature must reasonably match the signature of record.
If you haven’t updated your signature recently, play it safe and update your signature on file with the Supervisor of Elections.
5. Get to Know the Your Supervisor of Elections Website
Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with the Supervisor of Elections website at www.colliervotes.com. These pages in particular contain lots of important information:
- Register to Vote
- Find My Precinct
- My Sample Ballot
- Campaign Finance
- Voting System, Maps & Stats
6. Make a Plan for How You Will Vote
Voting by Mail
The United States Postal Service recommends that domestic nonmilitary voters mail back their voted ballots at least one week before the Election Day deadline “to account for any unforeseen events or weather issues.”
The League of Women Voters of Florida recommends mailing your Vote-By-Mail ballot “at least two weeks before Election Day; three weeks if you can.”
That would mean you should plan to mail your ballot between October 13 and no later than October 27.
If you requested a Vote-By-Mail ballot, you will likely receive it weeks before even the earliest recommended “send by” date. Take the time to learn about every one of your ballot decisions before mailing back your ballot.
Once you put your ballot in the mail, you will be able to track it to ensure that it is received and counted at the Collier Supervisor of Elections’ multi-purpose web page at www.colliervotes.com/Sample-Ballots.
During Early Voting, you can vote at any Early Voting location in your county. You are not required to vote in your precinct. Familiarize yourself with where they are here.
On Election Day, you may only vote at your precinct. Remember that there may be last-minute changes, depending on the state of the pandemic at the time. Find your precinct here, but be sure to also check before you go.
That’s it for now. I look forward to becoming a more informed voter and sharing what I learn. It’s in all of our best interests to participate in an informed way in the election process and to take full advantage of our right to vote. After all — democracy is not a spectator sport!