Civil Rights Restoration
How can I get my rights restored if I’ve been convicted of a felony?
The Florida Division of Elections has published an information page regarding the Standards Governing Eligibility to Vote After a Felony Conviction to assist with answering this question and other questions related to Amendment 4.
If you want to submit a Request for an Advisory Opinion as to eligibility, you may do so by contacting the Florida Division of Elections by phone: 850-245-6200, by email: [email protected], or online: https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/
Also, please see Restoration of Civil Rights.
What is a closed primary state?
Florida is a closed primary state, so only voters registered with a political party can vote in that party’s primary elections. All eligible voters, regardless of party affiliation, may vote in nonpartisan contests, and universal primary elections in which all candidates for an office have the same party affiliation and the winner of the primary will have no opposition in the general election. Nonpartisan ballots list candidate party affiliation, but voters may vote for any candidate and are not restricted by party.
For example, in a primary election:
- A voter registered as a Republican may only vote in Republican and nonpartisan contests, and on ballot issues.
- A voter registered as a Democrat may only vote in Democratic and nonpartisan contests, and on ballot issues.
- A voter registered with a minor party may only vote in the minor party and nonpartisan contests, and on ballot issues. A voter registered as No Party Affiliation, or NPA, may only vote in nonpartisan contest and on ballot issues.
Voters can update their party affiliation anytime. However, Florida law requires that they do so by the registration deadline, or 29 days prior to a primary election, to vote in that party’s primary contests. The party preference designated by the voter before the voter registration deadline is used by elections staff when mailing a voter's ballot or determining which ballot style a poll worker will issue at the polls during Early Voting or on Election Day. Voters may only change their party affiliation at the polls for FUTURE ELECTIONS only.
Voters who wish to change their party affiliation may:
State law requires that voters who want to change their party affiliation prior to a primary election do so no later than 29 days prior to that election.
Confirm your current political party online now.
What is early voting?
Early voting is a convenience for voters approved by the Florida Legislature in 2004. Statewide, early voting is currently held a minimum of the 10th day through the 3rd day prior to any federal, state or county election, with the Supervisor of Elections having the option to provide early voting on the 15th, 14th, 13th, 12th, 11th and 2nd days prior to the election. Times vary among counties, but must be no less than 8 hours and no more than 12 hours per day.
In Pinellas County, early voting is held in all Supervisor of Elections Offices for all countywide elections. Additional locations are provided for general countywide elections. Hours and days vary for each election.
Municipalities are not legally required to provide early voting for their elections.
What forms of identification are acceptable for early voting?
Election Day and General Voting Questions
When do polls open and close on Election Day?
Polls are always open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day by state law.
What forms of identification are acceptable for early voting?
Photo and signature identification is required. (See Acceptable Forms of Identification)
What is an overvote? What is an undervote?
An overvote occurs when a voter marks or designates more selections than are eligible for a given race or question on the ballot. An undervote occurs when a voter does not mark or designate any selection for a given race or question on the ballot. No vote is recorded for either an overvote or an undervote.
What is a provisional ballot?
A provisional ballot is a conditional ballot, whose validity is determined by the canvassing board. Anyone voting a provisional ballot may present evidence of his/her eligibility to the canvassing board by 5 p.m. the second day after an election. Elections staff also present evidence to the canvassing board from the voter database, such as signatures on file, which assists the board in determining voter eligibility.
What are the reasons that would require a voter to vote a provisional ballot?
Reasons to vote a provisional ballot include (but are not limited to) the following:
Voter did not provide photo and signature ID
Voter's name does not appear on the precinct register and the voter's eligibility cannot be verified
- Precinct register indicates voter has already voted and the voter does not agree
Voter's signature differs from the ID presented and voter refuses to complete an affidavit
Voter’s eligibility has been challenged - either at the precinct or prior to Election Day. (If a voter's eligibility is challenged because of residency, the voter has the option of updating his/her address and then voting a regular ballot at the correct precinct.)
What is a poll watcher?
Political candidates, political parties and certain political committees may designate one poll watcher per precinct or early voting location prior to the election. Please see the Poll Watcher Information and Form section of this website for details on poll watcher designation deadlines and other guidelines for poll watchers.
What is a poll observer?
Anyone can enter the polling place to observe the opening procedures prior to 7 a.m. and the closing procedures after the polls have closed as long as there are no voters present in the polling place. No photography, audio or video recording is allowed in the polling place, and observers may not touch voting equipment or ballots. No prior request is required to be an observer.
When does the Supervisor of Elections do a recount?
Florida law requires a machine recount when the margin between candidates or ballot questions is less than ½ percent in unofficial results. A manual recount is automatically required when the margin between candidates or ballot questions is less than ¼ percent in unofficial results. For details, please see Division of Elections Administrative Rule 1S-2.031.
How do I write in a candidate who is not on the ballot?
Only races with certified write-in candidates will include a space for a write-in candidate on the ballot. The voter must write in the candidate's name and fill in the oval next to the write-in blank. Only votes for qualified write-in candidates will be tallied.
What is the Presidential Preference Primary and when is it held?
The Presidential Preference Primary (PPP) is an election in which the political parties select their presidential candidates for the next General Election ballot. Legislation passed in 2013 provided for the date to be the first Tuesday that the rules of the two major political parties provide for without penalty.
How are election dates chosen?
Some elections, such as presidential and gubernatorial, are set by federal law. Other elections are set by state law, such as the presidential preference primary and legislative referendums. Municipal elections are either placed on regularly scheduled state or federal election dates or set by municipal charter or ordinance on dates supported by the Supervisor of Elections.
What does the canvassing board do and who sits on it?
Each county’s canvassing board is responsible for the overall conduct of the election, canvassing mail and provisional ballots, certifying election results and conducting a post-election audit. The canvassing board also conducts logic and accuracy tests on voting and tabulation equipment before each election. A county canvassing board is made up of a county judge, who is appointed by the chief judge, the chair of the board of county commissioners (BCC) and the supervisor of elections. If the chair of the BCC is unable to serve on the canvassing board, an alternate is selected by the BCC. No member can serve on the canvassing board if he/she is on the ballot.
Does Florida law require post-election audits?
Yes. After each election the Canvassing Board is required to conduct a post-election audit. Pinellas County conducts audits using an Automated Independent Audit System (ClearBallot). This system is used to audit 100% of the contests and precincts in the election. The purpose of the audit is to ensure that the voting system used in the election tabulated votes properly. An audit is not required by law if a manual recount was conducted.
What is the Florida Elections Commission?
The Florida Elections Commission was created in 1973 by the Florida Legislature to enforce campaign finance laws. The commission investigates alleged violations of these laws when a complaint is filed. If the commission finds that a violation has occurred, it can levy fines of up to $1,000 per count. For information on how to file a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission, call (850) 922-4539.
Where can I find voter statistics?
The Supervisor of Elections website has a comprehensive Voter Statistics section in the left menu bar. You can find past election results, voter turnout demographics and even the latest month-end voter registration reports.
Can you vote on the Internet?
There is currently no certified voting system that provides Internet voting in the United States; however, the U.S. Department of Defense is exploring the use of Internet voting for its Federal Voter Assistance Program. Primary users would be voters living overseas and military voters.
How can I find my polling place?
The easiest way to find your polling place is to call the Election Service Center at (727) 464-VOTE (8683). You may also use the Precinct Finder online, an interactive Web page that allows a voter to key in his/her address to find his/her polling place. Sample ballots mailed to households of registered voters for general elections also contain polling place information. Be sure to update your address with the Supervisor of Elections to avoid delays at the polls and ensure that you vote in the correct precinct.
How does the Supervisor of Elections determine if a location is suitable for a polling place?
Several criteria are considered in selecting a polling place: the number of registered voters in the precinct, the size of the facility, whether the facility meets the accessible requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, whether the facility will be available for future elections and other considerations as needed.
How does the Supervisor of Elections notify voters that a polling place has changed?
State law requires that legal ads be published in a countywide newspaper and that all registered voters in a precinct be notified by mail if the precinct’s polling place has changed since the previous election. The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office publishes a legal ad and mails a voter information card as required every time a polling place is changed for countywide elections. Poll workers are also instructed to place signs and directional maps at the former polling place on Election Day to notify voters of the new polling place.
Can voters suggest a possible polling place location to the Supervisor of Elections?
The Supervisor of Elections welcomes suggestions for any aspect of the elections process, including polling place selection.
Precincts and Districts
Where can I find a Pinellas precinct map?
All Elections Offices provide large county precinct maps for a small fee. They are published in even years. There are also a variety of district maps with precincts posted on our District Maps Web page.
How many precincts do we have in Pinellas County? 301
How many municipalities are in Pinellas County? 24, as listed below:
Indian Rocks Beach
North Redington Beach
St. Pete Beach
How many special districts are in Pinellas County?
There are four fire districts and two community development districts in Pinellas County:
East Lake Tarpon Special Fire Control District
Lealman Special Fire Control District
Palm Harbor Special Fire Control District
Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District
Clearwater Cay Community Development District
Eastlake Oaks Community Development District
What Florida Senate and House districts cover Pinellas County?
There are currently three Senate Districts - 16, 19 and 24; and seven House Districts – 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70.
What Congressional Districts cover Pinellas County?
There are currently two Congressional Districts that cover Pinellas County – 12 and 13.
Is it true that the School Board and County Commissioner Districts are exactly the same?
Yes. Their boundaries are identical. Districts 1, 2 and 3 are at-large; Districts 4, 5, 6 and 7 are single-member.
What is redistricting and how does it affect you as a voter?
Visit our Redistricting page for more information.
Are election materials available in Spanish?
Effective December 5, 2016, voting materials will be provided in English and Spanish because Pinellas County is a covered jurisdiction under the Language Minority Groups provision of the Voting Rights Act
Letter from DOJ - Bilingual Election Requirement
This website is available in Spanish - and many other languages - by clicking on Español in the top right corner below the website header of any page.
Section 203 - Voting Rights Act
Voter Information Cards
Do I need to have my Voter Information Card with me in order to vote?
No. Voter Information Cards are provided for informational purposes. They provide useful information such as your precinct, party affiliation and voting districts. By state law, they are no longer called Voter Registration Cards.
What type of ID do I need with me in order to vote?
Both photo and signature identification is required to vote a regular ballot in Florida. Acceptable forms of ID include Florida driver license, Florida identification card, U.S. passport, student or military ID, debit or credit card, retirement center ID, neighborhood association ID or public assistance ID. If the photo identification does not have a signature, another form of identification is required with a signature. Voters without acceptable identification may still vote a provisional ballot, which will later be evaluated by a canvassing board for eligibility. To avoid delays at the polling place, voters should bring acceptable identification.
Who can register to vote?
To register to vote, you must be an American citizen and a Florida resident. You must also be at least 18 years of age; however, any 16- or 17-year-old may pre-register. You may not register if you've been adjudicated mentally incapacitated or if you have been convicted of a felony and have not had your rights to vote restored.
I’m eligible. What do I need to register?
To register, you may download a voter registration application (Spanish) or complete the online voter registration application.
Where can I pick up a paper voter registration application?
Applications are available on this website. Tax collector offices, public libraries and social services agencies or disability services agencies also have paper voter registration applications. In Pinellas County, you can also find applications at city or town halls, and chambers of commerce.
You may also call 727-464-VOTE (8683) to request an application by mail or visit any of the three Elections Offices to pick up an application.
Can I register online?
Yes, you may visit RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov.
I am currently serving overseas in the military. Can I register to vote in Pinellas County?
Yes. As a U.S. citizen serving in the military, you may register to vote in your home county. Complete a Voter Registration Application, register to vote online or contact an Elections Office to request an application by mail. You may also choose to use the Federal Post Card Application to register.
I am living away from home while I attend college. Can I register to vote in Pinellas County?
Yes. You may register to vote in your home county while you are away at college, as long as you are not registered to vote elsewhere. For your convenience, you may want to request mail ballots for each election. To request a ballot be mailed to you, call (727) 464-VOTE (8683) or click on Request a Mail Ballot in the menu bar above.
What is the voter registration deadline to vote in a particular election?
Florida law requires that you must be registered to vote at least 29 days before an election to be eligible to vote in that election. Certain circumstances may make military or overseas voters eligible for late registration.
Do I have to register with a party affiliation?
No. You may register with no party affiliation by checking the "No party affiliation" box under Party Affiliation if you do not wish to designate a political party. However, if you wish to vote in partisan races in primary elections, you must be registered with that political party at least 29 days prior to the election.
How do I change my party affiliation?
Party affiliations may be changed by submitting a Voter Registration Application with the changes noted or completing the online voter registration application. Party changes must be received no later than 29 days before a partisan primary election to be eligible to vote in that party’s primary.
I was a registered voter elsewhere in Florida and I just moved to Pinellas County. Do I have to re-register to vote?
No. The statewide Florida Voter Registration System allows a registered voter to change his/her address within the state by notifying the Supervisor of Elections of an address change by phone or email and providing the voter's date of birth, and Florida DL/ID number or the last four digits of the voter's social security number. A voter can also update his/her address on a Voter Registration Application with the changes noted. A voter may also update his/her address at the polling place on Election Day, if moving within the state of Florida.
What if I just moved within the county? How do I update my address?
Complete an online voter registration application and check the Record Update/Change box.
Drop off a completed voter registration application at any Supervisor of Elections office and check the Record Update/Change box above question 1.
Call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 727-464-VOTE (8683).
Why are signature updates recommended?
Voters are encouraged to update their signatures in their voter records periodically to ensure it has not changed significantly. A signature comparison is one means of identifying a voter who does not have photo identification at the polls, so it is very important to keep it updated. The signature on your voter file is also used to verify your signature on your mail ballot certificate envelope or any candidate or initiative petition you sign.
I did not vote in the last election. Does that mean I’m inactive and have to re-register?
No. You do not become inactive if you miss voting in one election. However, Florida statutes require Supervisors of Elections to follow certain list maintenance procedures that cause some voters to be designated inactive. For instance, a voter whose address confirmation notice is returned to the elections office as undeliverable is designated inactive.
If I am designated inactive, how do I return to active voter status?
An inactive voter may return to active voter status by voting in an election, requesting a mail ballot or contacting an elections office to update his/her address. (View List Maintenance Definitions and Procedures)
Is a voter ever completely removed from the voter registration list?
Yes. A voter who has been designated inactive and does not vote in two consecutive federal elections is removed from the voter registration list. Once removed, a voter must reregister to become eligible to vote. Federal law prohibits any list maintenance activities within 90 days before a federal election. (View List Maintenance Definitions and Procedures)
Who is qualified for protected address status in the voter records?
Voters in law enforcement, child services or health services; firefighters; judges; state and U.S. attorneys may qualify for protected addresses. See the Protected Addresses page for details.
Victims of Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims: The Florida Office of the Attorney General has a program called the Address Confidentiality established specifically for victims of domestic violence and stalking victims who wish to exercise their right to vote. The records of voters enrolled in the Address Confidentiality Program are maintained in hard copy form and do not appear in the Voter Registration database. For more information, please see Address Confidentiality Program.
Voters with Disabilities or Special Needs
Can I request assistance at the polls?
Yes. A voter who requires assistance at the polling place can either indicate a request for assistance on his/her Voter Registration Application or call (727) 464-VOTE (8683) to request assistance before any election. A notation will be made on the precinct register to alert poll workers to a voter’s need for assistance. A voter may also bring someone with him/her to assist at the polls if preferred.
What provisions are made for blind or visually impaired voters?
Voters who have self-identified as disabled may request an electronic ballot by calling 727-464-8683, or emailing us at [email protected] with a name, date of birth, address and a FL DL/ID number or Social Security number.
Once your ballot is ready, a weblink and instructions on how to access the ballot, as well as instructions on how to return your voted ballot will be emailed to you.
Although you are able to print and assemble a return certificate envelope completely independently, the Supervisor of Elections office will be mailing you a regular Vote-by-Mail packet that contains a backup paper ballot, in case you are unable to print your electronic ballot. The Supervisor pays for return postage of your certificate envelope for your mailing convenience.
Sample ballots for all countywide elections are printed in Braille for blind or visually impaired voters to examine before they vote. These are available in all elections offices, the Lighthouse of Pinellas at Watson Center, the Pinellas Talking Book Library, the Pinellas Council for the Blind, and the National Federation for the Blind local chapter.
Blind or visually impaired voters may vote on the an ADA accessible ballot-marking device available at every polling place. The devices features audio headsets, Braille keypads, large type and reverse type options.
Braille Voter Registration Applications are available for use in any Supervisor of Elections Office. These are also being distributed to the Lighthouse of Pinellas at Watson Center, the Pinellas Talking Book Library, the Pinellas Council for the Blind, and the National Federation for the Blind local chapter. A large-print Voter Registration Application is also available as a downloadable file here (application also available in Spanish ) and in each Elections Office.
The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections audio Voter Guide can be found here.
How can hearing-impaired voters communicate with the Supervisor of Elections?
The Supervisor of Elections can be reached through the TDD relay system: 1-800-955-8771; or through email: [email protected].
Are all polling places accessible to voters with disabilities?
Yes. All polling places meet current Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
Do Pinellas County’s voting machines have a “paper trail”?
State legislation in 2007 required the use of optical scan voting systems in all Florida counties for all elections after July 1, 2008. Pinellas County purchased an Election Systems & Software voting system. Optical scanners process paper ballots completed by voters and tabulate the results. The original paper ballot is available for recounts, if needed.
How did the 2007 election laws about voting systems affect voters in Pinellas County?
Pinellas County, along with all Florida counties, uses paper ballots and optical scan voting systems for all elections to meet the requirements of state law. An ADA accessible ballot-marking device is also available in each precinct and early voting site to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
What is “ballot on demand” and how does it work in Pinellas County?
Pinellas County was the first in Florida to use “ballot on demand.” This system prints ballots as needed, eliminating the need to order ballots in large quantities and then discarding all unused ballots after each election. In Pinellas County, a primary election can have more than a thousand ballot styles, which requires a lot of storage space if ballots are preprinted for each precinct. The ballot-on-demand system stores PDF (portable document format) files of each ballot style and uses information about the voter to generate the correct ballot style. Pinellas County uses ballot-on-demand equipment made by Runbeck Election Systems for mail ballots, provisional ballots and early voting, but does not use it at the precinct level.
Who makes the voting equipment used in Pinellas County?
Pinellas County uses an Election Systems & Software voting system.
How does Pinellas County protect its voting equipment from tampering or hacking?
Many safeguards are in place to protect the integrity of the electoral process in Pinellas County. Poll workers are trained before each election how to maintain the security of the voting machines at each precinct, and Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies assist in protecting precincts, election offices and transportation of election materials to the Election Service Center.
What voting equipment does Pinellas County use?
Pinellas County voters currently use the Election Systems & Software optical scan voting system. Paper ballots are processed by DS 200 optical scanners at the precincts and during early voting. Mail ballots are processed by an DS 850 ballot tabulator. ADA accessible ballot-marking devices are also available at each precinct and early voting site for voters with disabilities.
Where can I learn how to use the current voting machines?
You can view a video or photo page demonstration online or drop by one of the three Supervisor of Elections offices to try out the optical scanners.
Additional FAQs can be found in Ballots by Mail, Candidates, Voting System, Election Laws/Rules and Civil Rights Restoration sections of this website.