I'm still really embarrassed that I didn't vote in the 2012 Presidential Election. It was my sophomore year at The University of Florida and I was living in my first college apartment at an address that I had only been living at for just a couple months. Sound familiar?
I waited too long to update my address or request an absentee ballot. I remember on election day I debated driving the 1.5 hours to my designated polling place back home in Apopka to vote. Busy with football season, tough classes, and figuring out how to ‘adult' I chose not to make the trip.
Don't be like me. Make sure you're registered, request your absentee ballot or get out to the polls, and take advantage of your first opportunity to make your vote count in a Presidential election!
Being a first-time voter is confusing enough. When you add in college classes and being away from home, things can feel pretty complicated. We helped you find your college apartment, so it's the least we can do to help you figure out how to vote at your new address. Follow these steps:
Step 1: Determine where you want to register to vote.
Out-of-state UCF students will need to decide if they want to register to vote in their hometown state or Florida. In making this decision, a Knight might consider factors such as:
- Local issues that might impact you during your college years
- Ease of absentee voting in your home state
- Swing/battleground state status
- Rules for absentee voting in your home state
If you're an in-state UCF student, there aren't many decisions to make here! Continue to step 2 and make sure you are registered to vote in Florida.
Step 2: Register to Vote OR Update Your Address
Not registered yet? The deadline to register online to vote is Monday, October 5, 2020. To register to vote, visit Florida's Voter Registration Website: https://registertovoteflorida.gov/ and click "New Registration" (this takes 2 min).
Are you already registered to vote in Florida? Double check your voter status here (this takes 30 sec): https://registration.elections.myflorida.com/CheckVoterStatus.
What address are you registered to vote at?
University of Central Florida students can choose to register to vote at your UCF address or your home address, the choice is legally yours.
If you choose to register to vote at your home address, you'll want to be sure to request an absentee ballot in Step 3.
If you choose to register to vote at your UCF housing address, you can choose to request a mail-in ballot OR vote in person at a polling location.
If you want to update your address to your UCF student housing, visit Florida's Voter Registration Website: https://registertovoteflorida.gov/ and click "Record Update/Change".
Step 3: VOTE!
Option 1: Vote by Mail (Request an Absentee Ballot to be Mailed to Your UCF Apartment Address)
This option will be best for most UCF students!
Which UCF students request an absentee ballot?
- You should request an absentee ballot if you are registered to vote at your home address but want to vote by mail from your UCF apartment.
- Students also might request an absentee ballot if they prefer to mail in their vote instead of visiting the polls in person.
How to request an absentee ballot: You'll request an absentee ballot via your county's Supervisor of Elections office. Select your county from the list here, then find the section on your Supervisor of Elections' website. You'll need to enter the address you're registered to vote at and the address where you want to receive your absentee ballot.
What is the deadline to request an absentee ballot? For voters registered in Florida, the deadline to request an absentee is TEN days before the election. That'll be: Saturday, October 24, 2020. Don't procrastinate, just follow the link to request your absentee ballot right now and you won't have to worry about the deadline.
Other states have different requirements, and this article would be too long if we listed them all! Select your state from the dropdown at this link to learn about your home state's absentee voting deadlines: https://www.nass.org/can-i-vote/absentee-early-voting.
Can I drop off my mail-in absentee ballot in person?
You can only drop off a mail-in ballot to your local supervisor of elections. In other words, if you are registered to vote in Miami and want to drop off an absentee ballot in person, you can only drop it off in your county. To drop off an absentee ballot in person, visit any of the polling places during early voting and drop it off. Alternatively (if you missed the deadline), you can exchange the mail-in ballot at your assigned polling place for an in-person ballot on election day
Option 2: Vote in Person at a Polling Location near UCF
This option will only work for students who are registered to vote at their UCF apartment address.
If you chose to register at your UCF apartment address, you can vote at a polling place near campus! Find your polling place on the Orange County Supervisor of Elections website by entering your address here: https://www.ocfelections.com/find-my-polling-place.
Gear up with your mask, hand sanitizer, and a couple of your roommates and head to your polling place. You can avoid any potential crowds by voting during early voting days (Saturday October 24 – Saturday October 31st) – just double check the hours that your polling place offers for early voting. Or, get the full Election Day experience and visit your polling place on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020!