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Important deadlines for the 2020 general election

If you live in Florida, make sure to mark your calendar.

TAMPA, Fla. — The 2020 general election is Nov. 3, but you'll need to be registered to vote before then. We've put together a guide to help you remember the important dates for this election cycle.

The polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. local time in Florida. If you're still waiting in line at 7 p.m., you're legally allowed to cast your ballot.

Click here to find your polling place.

Deadline to Register

The deadline to register for the 2020 general election is Oct. 5.

Click here to check if you're registered to vote or to apply.

Vote-by-Mail Ballot 'Send' Deadline

If you're an absentee stateside or overseas U.S. military service member or an overseas civilian voter, the supervisor of elections in your county is legally obligated to mail your ballot no later than 45 days before the general election. That means your ballot should be in the mail by Sept. 19, assuming you're registered to vote and requested a mail ballot.

If you're a domestic nonmilitary voter who requested a mail ballot, the supervisor of elections is required to send your ballot during a 7-day window between 40 and 33 days before the November election. The send-period for the upcoming election is Sept. 24 through Oct. 1.

Click here for instructions on how to request a mail ballot

Vote-by-Mail Ballot Request and Return Deadlines

The deadline for you to request a vote-by-mail ballot be sent your way is 5 p.m. on the 10th day before the general election. That means you need to have requested your ballot by 5 p.m. on Oct. 24.

Try to return your ballot quickly. Vote-by-mail ballots must be returned to and received by your county elections office no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted in Florida. That means you need to mail back your completed ballot early and ensure it has arrived at its final destination by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. 

The U.S. Postal Service recommends that domestic nonmilitary voters mail back their ballots at least one week before Election Day. Absent military and overseas voters should consider mailing their ballots back even sooner. There's a recommended timetable at the bottom of this page.

If you filled out your ballot locally and are worried you didn't leave enough time to mail it back, drop it in a secure drop box at your supervisor of elections office or locally-designated area in-person. Find your county here to learn where you can securely drop the ballot where you live.

Early Voting Timeframe

The Florida Legislature first approved in-person early voting in 2004. Today, state law requires it to be offered for at least eight days in any elections that contain state or federal races. It must be offered for 8-12 hours per day of early voting at each designated location.

Early voters go to designated locations and deposit their ballots into the same tabulation voting equipment used on Election Day. Voters should bring valid pieces of photo and signature identification.

Not sure about your ID card? Click here for answers to frequently-asked questions, including information about proper identification.

For the 2020 general election, all counties will have in-person early voting Oct. 24-31, but county supervisors of elections may offer additional dates. To find early voting times, sites and information for your Tampa Bay area location, choose your county from the list below.

If you live outside the Tampa Bay area, click here to find your Florida county.

10 Tampa Bay Cares: Are you a person with disabilities? We're here to help. Click here for accessible voting information to make sure your voice is heard.

►Get election results on your phone: Download the free 10 Tampa Bay app

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