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The Miami procrastinator’s guide to voting in the 2020 general election

We get it: Politics are stressful at the moment. You know what, scratch that, they’re downright scary. 

You’ve probably already heard this in every way possible, but it bears repeating: The 2020 general election is very important, and it’s absolutely crucial that each of us plays our part and casts a vote.

The deadline to register to vote in Miami-Dade County is literally right around the corner on Monday, Oct. 5. If you or your loved ones haven’t registered yet, don’t panic: We’re here to help.

We’ve compiled answers to some frequently asked voting Qs — this won’t be the last you’ll hear from The New Tropic on the election, but hopefully it’s a strong start. 

🗳 When is the registration deadline?

Monday, Oct. 5. 

🗳 What do I need to register?

A Florida driver’s license or other Florida government-issued ID, the date that ID was issued to you, and the last four digits of your social security number.

🗳 Where can I register?

Florida’s online voter registration portal makes it easy for you to sign up virtually. If you’d like to (safely!) visit your local elections office or want to address other odds and ends — like updating your signature to make sure it matches your current handwriting — you can also visit Miami-Dade County’s elections page.

 🗳 How can I confirm if I’m already registered?

Head here and enter your date of birth along with your first and last name.

🗳 How do I sign up for Vote-By-Mail (VBM)?

Once you’re registered, head to Florida’s Division of Elections web page to sign up for VBM. Miami-Dade County residents can also visit the county’s VBM web page or call 305-499-8444 for additional information.

 🗳 Can any voter request VBM?

Yes, any voter registered in the state of Florida can vote by mail. Florida is a “no excuse needed” ballot request state, so you don’t need to have a particular reason beyond a desire to participate in democracy. Last call, but here’s the link to register to vote — it shouldn’t take more than two minutes. Once you’re registered, the deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot is 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24. Trust us, you don’t want to dawdle on this one.

🗳 How and when can I vote early?

Early voting in Miami-Dade County begins on Monday, Oct. 19 and ends on Sunday, Nov. 1. A list of early voting locations and their hours can be found with this helpful form. It’s also worth noting that you can securely drop off completed VBM ballots at those early voting sites.

🗳 When’s the deadline to vote?

Ballots must be received by Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. to be counted. There are three ways to vote: by mail, early voting, or in-person on Election Day proper.

If you decide to vote by mail but lollygag on returning your completed ballot, four select voting locations will be accepting mail-in ballot drop-offs on Monday, Nov. 2 and Election Day. 

🗳 When will I receive the mail-in ballot I requested?

Miami-Dade started shipping out mail-in ballots to voters on Thursday, Oct. 1. If you’d like to track the status of your ballot once you’ve mailed it or dropped it off at an early voting location, you can visit the county’s online ballot tracking system. And if you’re concerned that there may have been a mix-up and you haven’t received your ballot yet, you can check Florida’s online voter information lookup for help: First, make sure to enter your name and birthday to check your voter registration status. Next, select “Access ballot and precinct information” followed by the “Vote-by-mail” heading, and follow prompts from there to see if/when your ballot was mailed and what address it was sent to.

If there’s a mistake you need to fix (or a problem you can’t figure out on your own), you can also contact your local Supervisor of Elections office.

🗳 I moved and forgot to update my address. Am I too late?

No, there’s still time! Call or visit your Supervisor of Elections office.

 If you’ve moved to a different Florida county, or need to change your name or party affiliation, you must also re-submit a completed Florida Voter Registration Application (Form DS-DE 39) to the same Supervisor of Elections office.

🗳 I poured coffee on my ballot/the dog ate it/*insert ridiculous excuse here*. What should I do?

Order a replacement ballot by calling your county Supervisor of Elections office. The same goes for if you lost your ballot, filled in the wrong box, etc.

 🗳 How will I know my ballot has been received?

Florida residents can track the status of their ballots here. As a reminder, you can also use Miami-Dade County’s online ballot tracking system. If you’d like to brush up on the issues and see what you’ll be voting 

🗳 How can I get an ‘I Voted’ sticker like the cool kids if I vote by mail?

The one downside of Florida’s vote-by-mail system is that no one hands you an ‘I Voted’ sticker for fulfilling your civic duty. But you can download a virtual sticker and share it on social media, and that’s almost as cool. Just remember you have to earn it first.

🗳 Who’s on the ballot?

If you want to brush up on the issues and see the litany of things you’ll be voting on ahead of time, here are a few tips:

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