FOX 35 Voter's Guide: 2020 Presidential Election

Voting for the 2020 Presidential election is underway as mail-in ballots are being returned, early voting dates quickly approach, and Election Day is almost here.

Many will head to the polls to cast their ballot for current President Donald Trump or the Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Voters will also be faced with several other decisions, as they must vote on several important amendments this year. 

COVID-19 has complicated the voting process but thankfully, millions of voters plan to vote-by-mail in Florida. Others can head to the polls for early voter or keep socially distant in line on Election Day. 

STAY INFORMED: Complete coverage and the latest updates on the 2020 election

However you vote and whoever you vote for, FOX 35 has everything you need to know about the 2020 Presidential election. 

HOW AND WHERE TO VOTE

In-person voting

While public health experts recommend voting-by-mail to slow the spread of COVID-19, you still can choose to vote in person by either early voting or voting on election day.

Early voting begins in Central Florida on October 19th and goes until October 31st or November 1st, depending on the county you live in. You must bring a form of identification with you, like a driver's license, passport, military ID, student ID, or retirement center ID. 

early voting florida

Photo by Getty Images

Polling locations and their hours of operations can be found by clicking your county below:

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. As with early voting, you must bring along a form of identification, like a driver's license, passport, military ID, student ID, or retirement center ID. 

Florida voting miami

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Find the nearest polling locations to you by clicking your county below:

Public health experts suggest that if you choose to vote in person, follow these guidelines to help you and those around you stay safe:

  • Wear a mask and disinfect
  • Maintain a good physical distance of at least six feet
  • Fill out a sample ballot before coming
  • Head to the polls at off-peak hours
  • Try to reduce your risk of transmission leading up to the 2020 election

Mail-in voting

A vote-by-mail ballot refers to a ballot that you request and pick-up or have delivered to you without having to vote at the polls during early voting or on Election Day. A voter must first be registered to vote before he or she can request a vote-by-mail ballot. 

In Florida, you have to specifically request a mail-in ballot in order to receive one. A request for a vote-by-mail ballot may be made in one of the following ways:

  • Online application on your county Supervisors of Elections' website;
  • By other writing (e.g., by email, fax, mail) to Supervisor of Elections;
  • In person at Supervisor of Elections;
  • By telephone call to Supervisor of Elections.

To make sure your vote counts, there are several things to know about early voting in Florida and voting by mail in 2020. Here are the basics; scroll down the page for your specific county information.

Last day to request a mail-in ballot: Saturday, October 24 at 5 p.m. Florida law says mail-in ballots must be requested by 5 p.m. the 10th day before the election

First day that mail-in ballots are sent out: September 24. Florida law says mail-in ballots are to be sent 40 to 33 days before the election, with military/overseas no later than 45 days before the election.

Mail-in ballots must arrive by: November 3 at 7 p.m. The date on which your ballot is postmarked is irrelevant; it must arrive at the elections office by 7 p.m. the night of the election. You can deliver it by hand if you forget to mail it in time.

Can you still go to the polls on election day?

If the voter decides to go to the polls to vote, the voter should bring the vote-by-mail ballot (marked or not). The vote-by-mail ballot will be canceled and the voter can vote a regular ballot at the polls.

If the voter comes to the polls without the vote-by-mail ballot, the voter can vote a regular ballot if the supervisor of elections' office can confirm that it has not received the voter's vote-by-mail ballot. If it is confirmed that the supervisor of elections office has already received the voted vote-by-mail ballot or it cannot be determined, the voter cannot vote a regular ballot at the polls.

How do I track my vote-by-mail ballot?

Any voter who has requested a vote-by-mail ballot can track online the status of his or her ballot through a link within the Division of Elections' Voter Information Lookup or through their county Supervisor of Elections' website. 

The United States Postal Service also provides a free service called Informed Delivery that allows you to digitally preview the address side of certain mail pieces such as a requested vote-by-mail ballot that will arrive soon at your address.

Mail in ballot

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

WHAT IS ON THE BALLOT?

President Donald Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence are running for reelection in 2020. His opponents are Democratic Nominee Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

See where the presidential candidates stand on issues like climate change, abortion, COVID-19, criminal justice reform, the economy, education, foreign policy, guns, health care, immigration, and more HERE.

President Donald Trump addresses the crowd during a campaign rally at Smith Reynolds Airport on Sept. 8, 2020 in Winston Salem, North Carolina, alongside Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden delivering remarks in the parking lot outside the United Auto Workers Region 1 offices on Sept. 9, 2020 in Warren, Michigan. (Photo by Sean Rayford & Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Photo by Sean Rayford & Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Florida voters will decide on six amendments this year, including one that would change how residents elect state leaders and another that would raise the minimum wage.  A summary of the amendments are linked below:

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL) are not up for re-election this year, but all members of the U.S. House of Representatives are on the ballot. Florida is divided into 27 congressional districts.

A total of 20 of 40 Florida Senate seats are up for election in 2020 along with all 120 Florida State House seats, though many candidates are unopposed or won their primary contest in August. 

Florida law requires Florida Supreme Court justices and Florida District Courts of Appeal judges to be placed on the ballot for “merit retention” elections. Those whose terms expire on January 2021 or those were appointed by the Governor since the last Genreal Elecction will be on the ballot, including one Florida Supreme Court justice and 24 appeals court judges.

Voters line up as the polls open at David Park Community Center on Nov. 6, 2018 in Hollywood, Florida. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Photo by Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Election of some county offices vary by county. Contact your county Supervisor of Elections to determine the manner of election for these offices.

HOW TO REPORT A VOTING OR POLLING PROBLEM

Voters who observe issues at the polls and are concerned about elections fraud should call the Voter Fraud Hotline at 1-877-868-3737. It operates Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.  You can also file a complaint with the date, time, place, and as much information as you can gather via PDF on the Florida Divisions of Election website.

SIGN UP TO BE A POLL WORKER

Polling locations across Central Florida still need workers for Election Day as many have had staffing issues because of employees worried about their health.

The duties of a poll worker include reporting to the polling place early on Election Day, assist in setting up the polling place, assist other workers when necessary, treat the voters in a courteous manner, follow voting procedures, and assist in closing the polls. 

Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

To become a poll worker, you must:

  • Be a registered voter
  • Provide a Social Security number 
  • Be able to speak, read, and write the English language.
  • Attend a mandatory training class before each election
  • Be present on Election Day before opening and stay until after the polls close
  • Be available to work a minimum of 14 hours on Election Day
  • Perform all duties for your position as assigned
  • Be willing to represent the county well and remain non-partisan in public
  • You are not an immediate family member of a candidate or are working on a candidate's campaign 

If you want to help fill the shortage of poll workers this year, you can sign up with the county resources referenced below.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest updates on the 2020 election.