Voter Registration Information
To register and vote, you must be 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States of America and a legal resident of Florida and of the county where you intend to vote. A person who is otherwise qualified may pre-register on or after that person's 16th birthday and may vote in any election held on or after that person's 18th birthday. (See section 97041, Florida Statutes)
Persons Not Entitled to Register or Vote
- Persons who have been found by a court in this or another state to be mentally incapacitated with respect to voting and who have not had their right to vote restored.
- Persons who have been convicted of any felony in any court and who have not had their right to vote restored.
- Any person who is not a citizen of the United States of America.
- A person who is not registered to vote may not vote.
(See Section 97041, Florida Statutes)
How to Register
To register to vote, you must fill out a voter registration application. Voter registration applications are available at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections' office, 600 301 Blvd. W., Suite 108, Bradenton, FL 34205 and/or Supervisor of Elections website, www.VoteManatee.com. the Division of Elections (also available for download from their website at http://election.dos.state.fl.us/pdf/webappform.pdf), driver's license offices, state agencies that provide public assistance, state agencies that serve persons with disabilities, public libraries, armed forces recruitment offices, and many other public locations.
You will be offered the opportunity to apply to register to vote or change your voter registration when you obtain your driver's license, when you apply for public assistance at state agencies, when you apply for services at state agencies that serve persons with disabilities, or when you obtain services at an armed forces recruitment office. A voter registration application is complete if it contains:
- Your name
- Your legal residence address
- Your date of birth
- Your valid Florida driver's license number or Florida identification card number. If you do not have either of these, you must provide the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you have not been issued a Florida driver's license, a Florida identification card, or a Social Security number, you must indicate "none" in the box provided for this information.
- A mark in the check box affirming that you are a citizen of the United States of America
- A mark in the check box affirming that you have not been convicted of a felony or that, if convicted, you have had your civil rights restored.
- A mark in the check box affirming that you have not been adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting or that, if so adjudicated, you have had your right to vote restored. You must sign the oath printed on the form swearing or affirming under the penalty for false swearing that the information contained in the registration application is true. (Power of attorney is not accepted.)
Note: An applicant who fails to designate a political party affiliation will be registered without party affiliation. (See section 97053, Florida Statutes)
When Can You Register
You can apply to register to vote at any time either by mail or in person. However, the registration books will be closed on the 29th day before each election. You must be registered for at least 29 days before you can vote in an election. The date your voter registration application is postmarked or hand delivered to your county Supervisor of Elections, the Division of Elections, a driver's license office, or a voter registration agency (i.e., any office that provides public assistance, any office that serves persons with disabilities, any center for independent living, any armed forces recruitment office or any public library) will be your registration date. If your application is complete and you are qualified as a voter, a voter information card will be mailed to you.
When the registration books are closed for an election, new voter registrations will be accepted, but only for the purpose of subsequent elections. Changes to your political party made while the books are closed for a primary election will not be effective until after the primary. (See sections 97.053 and 97.055, Florida Statutes)
First-Time Voters who Register by Mail
Special identification requirements apply if you register by mail and you are a first-time voter in the State and you have not been issued a Florida driver license number, Florida identification number, or a Social Security number. Instead, you must provide one of the following forms of identification in order to register if it contains your name and photograph:
- United States Passport
- Debit or credit card
- Retirement Center identification
- Neighborhood association identification
- Military identification
- Student identification
- Public assistance identification
Or you can provide instead a copy of a current and valid utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document containing your name and current residence address. Do not send original identification documents to the Supervisor of Elections. To avoid any potential problems when you go to vote, it is best that you submit a copy of the required identification with your voter registration form. If you wait until you go to the polls to vote, you have to provide a photo and signature ID before you can vote a regular ballot. If you wait until later and vote absentee, you must provide a copy of the identification with your absentee ballot or your ballot will not count.
If you vote absentee and fall into one of the following categories, you do not have to satisfy these special identification requirements, provided you swear or affirm under penalty of oath on your ballot certificate that you are exempt:
- Are 65 years of age or older
- Have a temporary or permanent physical disability
- Are a member of the uniformed services on active duty or a spouse or dependent, thereof, who, by reason of such active duty, is absent from the county on Election Day.
- Are a member of the Merchant Marine or a spouse or dependent there (who, by reason of service in the Merchant Marine, is absent from the county on Election Day.
- Are residing outside the United States but are eligible to vote in Florida
(See section 97.0535, Florida Statutes)