Voting 101: Answers to all of your basic voting questions

1. You don’t need your voter registration card to vote:
But you will need photo identification with a signature. In Florida, you can use a drivers license, state identification card, U.S. passport, debit or credit card with photo, military identification, student identification, retirement center identification, neighborhood association identification, veteran health identification issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm, or government employee identification.

2. You can write in Bernie Sanders for president, but your vote won’t be tallied:
In Florida, write-in candidates have to file candidacy papers, which only six people have done, including Andrew Basiago, Richard Duncan, Cherunda Fox, Zoltan Istvan Gyurko, Laurence Kotlikoff and Anthony Joseph Valdivia. Writing in Sanders, Paul Ryan or Mickey Mouse might make you feel good, but it won’t count.

3. If you don’t bring the right identification, you can still vote:
But it will be a provisional ballot, the kind of ballot given to voters whose eligibility can’t be determined. After you vote, your provisional ballot is placed in a secrecy envelope and you will get a notice of your rights as a provisional ballot voter. Provisional voters have the right to present further evidence of eligibility up to two days after the election. These provisional ballots then go to a local canvassing board. If the board determines that you were registered to vote and cast your ballot in the correct precinct, the board will compare your signature on the ballot to the signature on the voter files. If it matches, your vote counts. But if your eligibility is challenged, if you voted in the wrong precinct or if you don’t appear to be registered, your provisional ballot will be rejected. It’s easier to just remember to bring photo ID.

4. You don’t have to vote for everything on the ballot:
If you don’t agree with something or aren’t sure about what’s on the ballot, you don’t have to fill in the bubble. Only marked votes count, and in presidential election years, many voters vote only for the top race. But if you're unsure about some of the candidates, take a look at our endorsements to learn more about the rest of the races.

5. Ballot selfies are illegal in Florida:
State election law says, “No photography is permitted in the polling room or early voting area.” Photos of your completed vote-by-mail ballot are also illegal.

6. Voting on Election Day is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.:
But if you’re in line by 7 p.m. Tuesday, precinct workers have to let you vote. Early voting is from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day through Sunday, Nov. 6.

7. Check your precinct location before you leave your house:
Early voting sites are different from the polling places used during Election Day. Save yourself the hassle and check your precinct location at

8. The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot is Nov. 6:
Vote-by-mail ballots (which used to be called absentee ballots) can be delivered to your registered address or picked up at the Supervisor of Elections office on or before Sunday, Nov. 6. The completed ballot must be received by your county Supervisor of Elections by 7 p.m. on Election Day in order to count. But you can change your mind and decide to vote at the polls. If you do, bring your mail-in ballot so that it can be voided and you can vote at the polls. If you forget to bring or can’t find the mail ballot, you will still be able to vote a regular ballot if the elections office can confirm it hasn’t received your vote-by-mail ballot.

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