Stateside vote-by-mail ballots started going out this week, elections office says

Supervisor of elections encourages voters to return them early, to ensure they are counted

Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent. File photo
Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent. File photo

The Sarasota County elections office began mailing vote-by-mail (absentee) ballots for the Nov. 8 General Election to stateside voters on Tuesday, Oct. 4, Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent has announced.

Ballots requested by military and overseas voters were mailed beginning on Sept. 21, a news release notes.

To request a vote-by-mail ballot, voters may call 861-8618, submit an online request at or email, the release explains.

A request for a vote-by-mail ballot to be mailed to a voter must be received by the Supervisor of Elections Office before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2, the release emphasizes.

Apart from those in the military and overseas, any voter who requests a ballot be mailed to an address other than the one on file in the Florida Voter Registration System must submit a signed written request to the elections office, the release points out.

To be counted, voted ballots must be received by the supervisor of elections no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day, and the ballots may not be dropped off at a precinct, the release notes. “Dent urges vote-by-mail voters to mail their ballots back as early as possible to avoid postal delays and the risk of their ballots arriving too late to be counted,” the release says.

Dent also reminds voters that the signature on the vote-by-mail ballot certificate must match the voter’s signature on file in the elections office, or it will not be counted. A voter may update his or her signature by submitting a Florida Voter Registration Application to the Supervisor of Elections Office, the release says.

Signature updates for the purpose of vote-by-mail ballot verification must be received prior to the start of the vote-by-mail ballot canvass, which will be Wednesday, Oct. 26, the release adds.