Lori Edwards, Polk County Supervisor of Elections
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Registering to Vote FAQ

Questions:

Question: Who can register to vote?

Answer: Anyone who:
  • is a US citizen
  • is 18 years of age (you may pre-register if you are 16)
  • is a resident of Florida and is not registered in another state
  • is not now adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting in Florida or any other state
  • has not been convicted of a felony without his or her civil rights having been restored according to law

Question: How do I register to vote?

Answer: By completing a Florida Voter Registration Application which you may obtain at one of the following locations:

Mail your completed and signed application to:

Lori Edwards, Supervisor of Elections
PO BOX 1460
Bartow, FL 33831

Your Voter Information Card

Once the elections office has processed your application, a voter information card will be mailed to you.  This card not only lets you know that your application has been approved, but includes other helpful information.  The center of the card shows the Congressional, State Senate, and State House districts of the precinct in which you reside.  It also shows the polling location for your residence address.  This card is not required to vote, nor is it an authorization to vote.  State law requires that you vote in the precinct where you reside on election day.  Call us at (863) 534-5888, if your address has changed.  

Question: Do you have to register prior to each election?

Answer: No.  Once you are registered in Florida, your name remains on the rolls until you move out of the state, die, are convicted of a felony, are mentally incapacitated, or ask to have your name removed. However, if you move within the state, you are required by law to tell us about your change of address.  If mail to you is returned to us because we do not have your correct address, we may have to take you off the rolls.  If you're not sure whether you're still registered, you can call the Elections Office at (863) 534-5888 to find out.

Question: Do I have to be a resident of the state to register?

Answer: Yes.  For voter registration purposes, you qualify by living in the State of Florida with a legal residence address.  Post Office Box addresses do not qualify.  We must know where you live so you are placed in the proper precinct for election day.

Question: Can I choose which address to use for registering?

Answer: No.  Because your elected representatives are determined by your residence address, you must use the address where you live.  It is not permissible to register using a business address, a former address or at a piece of property that you simply own.  You must register where you live.

Question: If I move from another county in Florida, do I have to register again?

Answer: No. Voter registration is transferable from one county to another, just contact the Supervisor of Elections in your new county.

Question: My children are going off to college.  Where should they be registered to vote?

Answer: Students can maintain their voter registration at their home of residence address, or they may register to vote in the jurisdiction where the school is.  Those who choose to maintain a Polk County registration will want to remember to contact our office for absentee ballots at election time.

Question: Florida is a closed primary state.  What does that mean to me?

Answer: Persons that registered as Democrats or Republicans can vote in their party’s primary elections.  These elections are held for the voters in each party to decide who their candidate will be for the General Election.  Voters registered with a minor party or with no party affiliation may vote during the primary elections on non-partisan ballots only (judicial races, some local races, constitutional amendments, municipal races, and referenda.)

Question: What does non-partisan mean?

Answer: Non-partisan means that you or a candidate are not affiliated with any political party.  This is different from Independent which is actually a minor party in Florida.

Question: What are all the political parties?

Answer: Please click here to be directed to the Florida Division of Elections Website for a complete list of political parties. 

Question: Do I have to give a political party preference?  

Answer: You may register as "None", meaning that you are not registering in any party.  If you do not register in a party,  you can vote for non-partisan candidates only in the Primary Election. In the General Election you may vote for any party regardless of which party you are registered under.  

Question: Can I register to vote if I have a Green Card?

Answer: No, you must be a citizen of the United States to register to vote.

Question: How can a convicted felon check to see if their voting rights have been restored?

Answer:  Please click here to be directed to the Florida Parole Commission. 

Question: How do I update my signature with the Elections Office?  

Answer: It's Easy! Just download this form (click here), check the "signature update" box, complete the name and date of birth boxes, and mail the form to Supervisor of Elections, P.O. Box 1460, Bartow, FL 33831. If you're unable to download the form, just send us a letter with your name, date of birth and signature. Mention that this is a signature update.

Question: Why should I update my signature?  

Answer: Florida law requires the Canvass Board compare your signature on your absentee ballot envelope to the signature on file with the Supervisor of Elections office. This verification process protects you from attempted voter fraud. If the signature on file is old, or your signature has changed, an updated signature will help the Canvass Board verify your identity.  

Question: How can I Check my Voter Status?

Answer:  Please click here to be directed to myflorida.com.