What is Vote-by-Mail?
Vote-by-mail formerly referred to as "Absentee Voting" is a convenient voting option available to all registered voters to receive and cast a paper ballot by mail as an alternative to going to the polls.
Voting by mail is easy and accurate!
- Avoid possible lines
- No schedule conflicts
- Additional time to study the candidates and issues on the ballot
Who Can Use a Vote-by-Mail Ballot?
All registered voters are permitted to vote-by-mail under Florida Law and are no longer required to have an excuse unless issued on Election Day.
How Do I Receive a Vote-by-Mail Ballot?
Vote-by-mail ballots are not automatically mailed. To receive a vote-by-mail ballot a voter must have an active request on file with the Marion County Election Center. Vote-by-mail requests expire after every two general election cycles. To check the status of your mail ballot request you can us at 352-620-3290 or look it up by using our Voter Registration Status Tool.
When is the Deadline to Request Vote-by-Mail?
A request for a vote-by-mail ballot to be mailed to a voter must be received by the Marion County Election Center no later than 5 pm on the 10th day before the election. If the deadline has passed, the voter or designee still has the option of picking up a vote-by-mail ballot from the Election Center through Election Day. However, all mail ballots are still required to be received by the Election Center by 7 p.m. Election Night to be counted.
How do I Request Vote-by-Mail?
Voters can request a vote-by-mail ballot for a specific election or for all elections up through the next two General Elections. Mail ballots cannot be forwarded so please make sure that the Election Center has your current mailing address on file or the specified address you would like to receive your mail ballot.
Marion County voters can request vote-by-mail by any of the following ways:
- Online: Online Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application
- By phone: 352-620-3290
- In person: Marion County Election Center, 981 NE 16th Street, Ocala, FL 34470
- In writing:
Mail: PO Box 289, Ocala, FL 34478-0289
Military and Overseas Voters can request vote-by-mail by submitting an Online Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application or by submitting a completed Federal Post Card Application. Learn more on our Military/Overseas Voters page.
If you are making the request, the following information is required:
- Your name;
- Your address;
- Your date of birth; and
- Your signature (if the request is written).
If an immediate family member or legal guardian is requesting a vote-by-mail ballot for you, the following additional information must be provided:
- The requestor’s address;
- The requestor’s driver’s license number (if available);
- The requestor’s relationship to the voter; and
- The requestor’s signature (if the request is written).
When Will I Receive my Mail Ballot?
Voters with pre-existing vote-by-mail requests on file for an upcoming election can expect mail ballots to be mailed:
UOCAVA (Military/Overseas) voters: No later than 45 days before the election. Ballots will be sent by forwardable mail, fax, or email as specified by the voter in the request.
Domestic (Local/Stateside) voters: Between the 40th and 33rd day before the election. Ballots are non-forwardable.
Vote-by-mail ballots will continue to be mailed up until eight days before the election and will be sent daily as new requests are received by the Marion County Election Center.
Who Can Pick Up a Mail Ballot?
A voter can pick up his or her own vote-by-mail ballot or may designate in writing another person to pick up their ballot beginning on the 9th day before an election. The designee may only pick up two ballots per election, not including his or her own ballot or immediate family members. The designee must provide photo identification, written authorization from the voter, and a completed Affidavit to Pick-Up Vote-by-Mail Ballot for a Voter (DS-DE 37 - English PDF/ Español PDF). If the ballot is picked up on Election Day, the Election Day Vote-by-Mail Ballot Delivery Affidavit (DS-DE 136 - English PDF/ Español PDF) must also be completed by the voter or designee to affirm that he or she has an emergency keeping them from being able to vote at his or her assigned voting location.
How do I Vote my Mail Ballot?
All vote-by-mail packets contain voting instructions to ensure your ballot is counted along with a ballot, secrecy folder, and pre-addressed return envelope (Voter's Certificate).
If you misplaced or made a mistake on your mail ballot, call 352-620-3290 to request a replacement ballot be sent to you. A voter may receive up to three vote-by-mail ballots, but whichever one is received by our office first will be the one that is counted. After the Election Center has received a vote-by-mail ballot, no changes may be made.
Important: To be counted, the voter must sign the return envelope that's provided and the voter's signature must match the one they have on file with our office.The voter must personally vote the ballot and sign the return envelope. A Power of Attorney cannot sign for the voter. Voters may update their signature up until the day our office receives their ballot. To change or update your signature or identifying mark, you must submit a Florida Voter Registration Application which can be completed online, in person or by mail.
Where Do I Return my Voted Mail Ballot?
Vote-by-mail ballots must be received by the Supervisor of Elections office by 7 p.m. Election Day to be counted and may be returned by mail (USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.), to a secure mail ballot drop box located at each early voting location during early voting hours, or in person to the Supervisor of Elections office located at 981 NE 16th Street, Ocala, FL 34470. The United States Postal Service recommends that ballots be mailed to the Elections Office at least one week prior to Election Day to ensure they are received timely.
Secure Mail Ballot Drop Box locations:
- Marion County Election Center located at 981 NE 16th Street, Ocala, FL 34470 - available 24/7
- At each early voting location, available only during early voting hours. Early voting locations, dates and times.
Vote-by-mail ballots cannot be accepted at any Election Day voting location. However, you can surrender your mail ballot and vote in person if you choose.
How Do I Cancel My Mail Ballot?
If you change your mind and decide you want to vote early or on election day, bring the mail ballot with you to surrender to an election worker so that it will be canceled and permit you to cast a ballot in person. If you misplaced your mail ballot or did not bring it with you to the polls, the election worker will verify that it has not already been received by the Election Center prior to issuing you a voting pass.
Contact the Vote-by-Mail Department