Can a “Snowbird” Register to Vote in Florida? YES - Here’s How:
- You cannot vote in two states. If you choose to vote in Florida, you give up your right to vote in your northern state.
To register to vote in Florida, and specifically in Sarasota County, you must be:
- At least 18 years old,
- A citizen of the United States of America, and
- A legal resident of Florida and Sarasota County – that is, you own or rent property in the county.
Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need to spend six months and a day in Florida to vote here, nor do you need to own property. You can be both a legal voting resident of Florida and a taxpaying resident of another state. “Snowbirds” are often surprised to learn this, but the so-called 183-day rule is a residency rule used by many states for taxation purposes; it has nothing to do with voter registration. See the Florida Division of Elections document, https://soe.dos.state.fl.us/pdf/DE%20Guide%200003-%20Voter%20Residency%20Updated%2004-2019%20Final.pdf. This makes clear that what matters is where a person intends to make his or her permanent residence for purposes of voter registration.
Please be aware that registering to vote in Florida might impact residency definitions for taxation, homestead exemption, or other purposes in the state where you are currently registered. Please check with your tax or legal advisor if you have any questions about this.
How to Register:
Print out and complete the Florida Voter Registration Form at https://dos.myflorida.com/media/693757/dsde39.pdf and mail it to the address provided.
In Question 5, where you are asked for a Florida Driver License or Florida ID Card (issued by the Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles), you are instructed to provide the last four digits of your Social Security number if you do not have either of these cards.
In Question 7, “Address Where You Live,” provide your Sarasota County address.
In Question 8, “Mailing Address,” state where you want the Voter Information Card sent.
The Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections will mail your Voter Information Card to your preferred mailing address (either your Sarasota County or alternate address).
- To get your ballot mailed to you after you register to vote, sign up for Vote by Mail. You may do so either online at www.sarasotavotes.com or by calling the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections at 941-861-8618. If you include your email address on your Vote by Mail application, the Supervisor of Elections will notify you when your Vote by Mail ballot is en route. Vote by Mail ballots are generally mailed about one month before the Primary Day or Election Day, so you must provide the address where you will be at that time. The Post Office will NOT forward a Vote by Mail ballot. We highly recommend Voting by Mail as a safe, secure way to vote.
- Note: Florida is a closed primary state, so you must register as a Democrat to vote in a state Democratic Primary. If you register without a party affiliation, you may vote only in the General Election. The deadline to register is 29 days before a primary or an election.
How to Vote if You Will Be in Florida for the Presidential Preference Primary on March 17, 2020, or for the General Primary on August 25, 2020, or for Election Day on November 3, 2020:
- Go to the Polling Location on your Voter Information Card or, during Early Voting, to any Early Voting Polling Location in Sarasota County, or Vote by Mail (see previous page).
- Voters who go to their polling place must present a valid photo ID with signature. The ID does not need to display your Florida address, but merely show your photo and your signature. Note that you may not use your out-of-state driver’s license at the polls.
- Among acceptable IDs for in-person voting are a U.S. passport, a debit or credit card, military or student identification, neighborhood association card, and an employee identification card issued by any entity of the federal government, a state, a county, or a municipality. For a full list of acceptable identification, go to https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/voting/election-day-voting/
How to Vote If You Will Not Be in Florida for the Presidential Preference Primary on March 17, 2020, or for the General Primary on August 25, 2020, or for Election Day on November 3, 2020 :
- You must sign up to Vote by Mail (see previous page) in order to have the ballot mailed to you.
How to Vote If You Will Be in Another State for either or both Primaries and in Florida on Election Day:
- After you register to vote, sign up to Vote by Mail (see previous page). Request that the ballot be mailed to the address where you will be for either or both Primaries and to the Sarasota County address where you will be for the General Election. You must provide your address to the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections before every election to ensure that your Vote by Mail ballot arrives at the correct address.
Example: You own property in Buffalo, NY, and you rent in Sarasota, FL. You go back and forth between both residences. You want to vote in Florida and not in New York. You can legally vote in Florida by registering to vote in Florida and then either going to the polls with a photo and signature ID or by signing up to Vote by Mail and requesting that your ballot be sent to the address where you will be on Primary Days and Election Day. Remember to notify the Supervisor of Elections before the next Election Day as to where you want your ballot sent. The Post Office will NOT forward a Vote by Mail ballot.