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Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What hours are the polls open on election day?

Answer: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Question: How many times and what are the past election results for either an appointed or elected Superintendent of Schools?

Answer: See Elected or Appointed Superintendent (PDF)

Question: What is a Universal Primary Contest?

Answer: The Universal Primary Contest was created as a result of Constitution Revision No. 11 that was approved in 1998. This amendment allows for all voters, regardless of party, to vote in any party's primary election, if the winner will not have opposition in the general election.

Question: What is a Write-In Candidate?

Answer: This is a candidate who qualified in a manner that does not allow for his/her name to appear on the ballot. However, a space is provided for the candidate's name to be written on the general election ballot. A person qualifying as a write-in candidate is not required to pay a filing fee, election assessment, or party assessment.

Question: I moved here from another county in Florida. Can I transfer my voter registration from that county to Lake County?

Answer: Yes. Please complete a voter registration application to facilitate the transfer of your registration.

Question: Does a person have to live in the State of Florida for a certain period of time before he can register to vote?

Answer: No, there is no length of residency requirement in the State of Florida. However, you must be registered at least 29 days before you can vote in an election. The date your voter registration application is postmarked or hand delivered to the elections office or other official registration site will be your registration date.

Question: How will I know if my application was processed?

Answer: If your application is complete and you are qualified as a voter, a voter information card will be mailed to you. You can use the Voter Information Lookup Tool to verify your status. If your application was incomplete, you will be notified by the elections office to provide the missing information. Your application is not processed until the date that the missing information is received.

Question: Do I have to declare a party when I register to vote?

Answer: No, you can register in any party you choose or register with no party affiliation. An applicant who does not designate a political party affiliation on their application will be registered without party affiliation.

Question: If I register with no party affiliation, can I choose a Democrat or Republican ballot in the primary election?

Answer: No, Florida is a closed primary state. Only voters who are registered members of the two major political parties (Republicans/Democrats) may vote for their respective party's candidates in a primary election. However, the Florida Constitution provides that if all candidates have the same party affiliation and the winner will have no opposition in the general election, all qualified voters, regardless of party affiliation, may vote in the primary election for that office. This is known as a Universal Primary Contest. It is also important to remember that judicial and school board offices are nonpartisan and are included in primary elections, as well as local referendum questions. All registered voters, including those without party affiliation and minor political party voters, are entitled to vote on all of these offices and questions. At general elections, all voters receive the same ballot and may vote for any candidate or question on their ballot.

Question: How do I make a change of address in my voter registration record?

Answer: You may call the elections office with change of address information. You may also write to the elections office or complete an updated voter registration application form noting your change of residence or mailing address, and mail it to the Supervisor of Elections office. Additionally, you can use the online Address Change form to make your address change.

Question: How may I request to remove my voter registration record from Lake County voter registration records?

Answer: Use the Elector's Request for Disqualification Form (PDF)  to process this request.

Question: What is a provisional ballot?

Answer: At all elections, a voter claiming to be properly registered in the county and eligible to vote at the precinct in the election, but whose eligibility cannot be determined, shall be entitled to cast a provisional ballot.

Voters casting a provisional ballot will be required to insert their ballot into a designated envelope and sign the certificate on the envelope and return it to the clerk at the polling place. Provisional ballots are not deposited into the tabulating machines at the polling place.

Once eligibility has been confirmed by the county canvassing board, the provisional ballot will be tabulated.

Question: What is a provisional ballot cure affidavit?

Answer: If a voter fails to sign the provisional ballot envelope, or if the signature on the provisional ballot envelope does not match their signature on file, they will have an opportunity cure their signature by completing the Provisional Ballot Cure Affidavit – DS-DE 210 Form (PDF) . The deadline return the provisional ballot cure affidavit form is no later than 5:00 pm on the second day after the election.

Question: May I receive assistance in voting if necessary?

Answer: Yes, upon request, a need for assistance at the polls may be designated on an elector's registration record. The elector can designate someone of his or her choice, other than an employer or an officer or agent of the person's union. Election officials may also provide assistance.

Question: I work next door to a polling place. Can I vote there or do I have to vote at the precinct near my home?

Answer: Florida law states that on Election Day you must vote in the precinct in which you live.

Question: What does an over-vote mean?

Answer: An over-vote means that the voter marks or designates more names than there are persons to be elected to an office, or designates more than one answer to a ballot question. In the case of an over-vote, the tabulator would record no vote for the office or question.

Question: What does an under-vote mean?

Answer: An under-vote means that the voter does not properly designate any choice for an office or ballot question and the tabulator records no vote for the office or question.

Question: How far away from the polling place must candidates and campaign workers be on Election Day?

Answer: One hundred fifty (150) feet from the entrance of the polling place.

Question: How are candidates listed on the ballot?

Answer: In a primary election, candidates are listed alphabetically (except for circuit court judges who are determined by lot conducted by the State Director of the Division of Elections.) In a general election, the names of the candidates of the party that received the highest number of votes for Governor in the last election shall be placed first under the heading for each office; then, the names of the candidates of the party that received the second highest vote for Governor shall be second. Minor political party candidates and candidates with no party affiliation shall have their names appear on the general election ballot following the names of recognized political parties, in the same order as they were certified. - Florida Statutes 101.151(3)(a)(b) 

Question: How do I get a sample ballot for the primary or general election?

Answer: Sample ballots will be mailed to each registered voter before the start of Early Voting. However, voters who request a vote-by-mail ballot will not receive a sample ballot. Find your sample ballot for a current election.

Question: Can I take my sample ballot into the polling room with me?

Answer: Yes, you may take the sample ballot into the voting booth with you. Be sure that you take it with you when you leave the polling room.

Question: How much money can I donate to a candidate?

Answer: Up to $1,000 per election. This amount includes in-kind contributions.

Question: What is an in-kind contribution?

Answer: An in-kind contribution is anything of value made for the purpose of influencing the results of an election.

Example: Giving lumber to a candidate to build signs for his or her campaign or providing office space at no charge or a lesser charge.

Question: Can a candidate accept a cash contribution?

Answer: A candidate may not accept contributions in cash or by means of a cashier's check in excess of $50.

Question: Are candidates' contributions and expenditures public record?

Answer: Yes.

Question: When may a voter request a vote-by-mail ballot?

Answer: Vote-by-mail ballot requests must be received by the elections office no later than 5pm on the tenth day before an election. Vote-by-mail ballot requests can be made for up to two election cycles. Vote-by-mail ballot requests do expire and need to be updated periodically.

Question: How may a person request a vote-by-mail ballot?

Answer: Call the elections office, OR mail request to this office, OR stop by the elections office OR make your request with the online Vote-By-Mail Request Form.

Question: May a person other than the voter request a vote-by-mail ballot?

Answer: Only the voter, a member of the voter's immediate family, or the legal guardian may request a vote-by-mail ballot. A requester other than the voter must provide his/her name, address, driver's license (if available) and relationship to the voter, and must have permission from the voter to make such request.

Question: May I pick up a vote-by-mail ballot?

Answer: A registered voter may pick up a vote-by-mail ballot at any Supervisor of Elections office with picture identification. A person could also vote early during the designated Early Voting period.

Question: Will a vote-by-mail ballot be counted if it is mailed on election day?

Answer: A vote-by-mail ballot can be counted only if it is received in the Supervisor's office by 7 p.m. election day.

Question: Can I bring my vote-by-mail ballot to my precinct on election day?

Answer: If you do, you will be required to turn in that ballot and then you will be issued an election day ballot that you can complete and cast at your precinct.

Question: What if I request a ballot, but don't mail it in?

Answer: You can drop off your vote-by-mail ballot at any early voting site during the early voting period and up until 7 p.m. on election day you can turn it in at the main elections office in Tavares.

Question: Can I register to vote if I have been convicted of a felony?

Answer: Yes, certain convicted felons who have completed their sentences, including parole and probation will have their voting rights automatically restored and will be eligible to register to vote. However, if you have been convicted of murder or sexual offenses you are not eligible to register to vote unless the Governor's Clemency Review Board  restores your voting rights.

Question: Can I register here if I live here part of the year and another state part of the year?

Answer: Yes. However, you must determine which place you want to be your legal residence. You cannot be registered in two places at once.

Question: Can I get information from the voter registration records?

Answer: Yes. In Florida, voter registration records are open to the public and may be examined, but not duplicated or sold commercially by anyone. Only government agencies, candidates, registered political committees, registered political committees of continuous existence, political parties, and incumbent officeholders may request voter registration information in a list format.

Note: No person who acquires such a list, shall use any information contained therein for purposes, which are not related to elections, political or governmental activities, voter registration, or law enforcement. (section 98.095 Florida Statutes )

Question: I am in the military. Where is my "legal voting residence"?

Answer: For voting purposes, your "legal voting residence" can be the state or territory where you last resided prior to entering military service or the state or territory that you have since claimed as your legal residence. To claim a new legal residence you must have simultaneous physical presence and the intent to return to that location as your primary residence. Military and family members may change their legal residence every time they change permanent duty stations or they may retain their legal residence without change. Family members may have a different legal voting residence from the member. A legal officer should be consulted before legal residence is changed because there are usually other factors that should be considered besides voting. Be sure to enter the complete address of your legal voting residence, including street or rural route and number, when completing the residence section of the FPCA (PDF). Even though you may no longer maintain formal ties such as property ownership to that residence, the address is needed to place you in a proper voting district, ward, precinct or parish.

Military personnel may apply for voter registration or request vote-by-mail ballots with a Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) (PDF) which may be obtained from the Unit Voting Officer or the Service or State Department Voting Action Officer. If an FPCA (PDF) is not available, an FPCA (PDF) may be downloaded from the internet. Refer to Federal Voting Assistance Program website  for further form instructions.

Federal Postcard Application (PDF)

Federal portions of general election and presidential preference primary ballots voted by persons outside the U.S. are counted if postmarked no later than election day and received within 10 days of the election.

Additional military election information is available from:

Director of Federal Voting Assistance Program
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Washington Headquarters Services
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-1155

FVAP Fax: 703-588-0108
Toll-free: 800-438-8683

Question: I am in the military. Can I vote in person where I am stationed?

Answer: Military members may vote in the state or territory where stationed if they change their legal residence to that state or territory, even if they live on a military installation. Be advised that there are legal obligations that may be incurred, such as taxation, if you change your state or territory of residence. Therefore, consult a legal officer before making such a decision. At the present time, there are no provisions for personnel stationed outside the United States to vote, in person, where stationed.

Question: I am in the military. However, my family members are not in the military; can they also vote by mail?

Answer: The law entitles eligible family members of military personnel to vote by mail. Family members are considered to be in the same category of vote-by-mail voter as military members and generally should follow the same procedures. Family members of military personnel residing overseas, who are U.S. citizens and who have never resided in the U.S., usually claim a U.S. citizen parent's legal state of residence as their own.

Question: I am an overseas citizen. If I do not maintain a legal residence in the U.S., what is my "legal state of residence?

Answer: Your "legal state of residence" for voting purposes is the state or territory where you last resided immediately prior to your departure from the United States . This right extends to overseas citizens even though they may not have property or other ties in their last state or territory of residence, and their intent to return to that state or territory may be uncertain. When completing the FPCA's (PDF) Voting Residence section, be sure to enter the entire mailing address of your last residence, including street or rural route and number. This information is necessary to place you in the proper voting district, ward, precinct or parish. Family members of citizens residing overseas, who are U.S. citizens and who have never resided in the U.S., usually, if the state allows, claim one of their U.S. citizen parent's legal state or territory of residence as their own. Check Chapter 3 of the Guide.

Question: Will I be taxed by my last state or territory of residence if I vote by mail?

Answer: Exercising your right to vote in elections for Federal offices only, does not affect the determination of residence or domicile for purposes of any tax imposed under Federal, state, or local law. Voting in an election for Federal office only, may not be used as the sole basis to determine residency for the purpose of imposing state and local taxes. If you claim a particular state or territory as your residence and have other ties with that state or territory in addition to voting, then you may be liable for state and local taxation, depending upon the laws of that particular state or territory. Consult the Guide or a legal advisor for information on probable tax obligations.

Question: Can I register or vote in person at the embassy or consulate?

Answer: At the present time, there are no provisions for in-person voting or on-site registration to be conducted at U.S. embassies or consulates. U.S. embassy and consular officials will assist U.S. citizens in completing FPCA (PDF) forms for their state, witness or notarize FPCA (PDF) forms and ballots (if required), and provide other vote-by-mail voting information. U.S. embassy and consulate locations serve also as a mailing point. FPCA (PDF) forms and other election materials may be mailed back, postage paid, to your local voting jurisdiction in the U.S. where vote-by-mail registration and ballot requests are processed.


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