Ballots for March 17 presidential primary election going into the mail

Deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot for people within the U.S. is 5 p.m. on March 7

Image courtesy Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office

On Jan. 31, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner and his staff began mailing vote-by-mail ballots for the March 17 presidential preference primary to overseas civilians and active duty military personnel and their spouses and dependents, Turner’s staff announced.

Altogether, Turner said in a news release, 1,011 ballots went out to military and overseas voters at the end of last week. “Following the initial mailing, requests for vote-by-mail ballots will be processed and ballots mailed daily,” the release notes. “The initial mailing of ballots to stateside voters is scheduled for early February,” the release adds.

A voter may submit a vote-by-mail request online at or by calling 861-8618.

Requests for ballots to be mailed within the United States must be received by the elections office no later than 5 p.m. on March 7, to allow sufficient time for the ballot to reach the voter and then to be returned to the elections office so it can be counted, the release emphasizes.

Voted ballots may be returned by mail or in person, the release adds, but they must be received by the Supervisor of Elections Office no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day. “Turner urges voters to return their ballots promptly to avoid postal service delays,” the release says.

Except for uniformed services personnel and civilian voters living overseas, a voter who requests that a ballot be mailed to an address other than the address on file in the Florida Voter Registration System must submit a signed written request to the elections office, the release also stresses.

Finally, Turner reminds voters that the signature on the vote-by-mail ballot certificate will be compared to the voter’s signature on file in the elections office, for verification purposes. A voter may update his or her signature by submitting a Florida Voter Registration Application to the Supervisor of Elections Office.

“The signature on file at the time the voted ballot is received in the elections office will be the signature used to verify the voter’s eligibility,” the release points out.