The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA)
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) ensures eligible citizens can apply to register to vote and vote by absentee ballot (vote-by-mail). Citizens covered under UOCAVA include:
- Absent uniformed service members
- Absent u.s. merchant marine members
- Eligible family members of the above
- U.S. citizens residing outside the United States
Uniformed service members and their dependents residing in their voting jurisdictions are not covered under UOCAVA.
The Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act (MOVE), which amended UOCAVA, requires states to send vote-by-mail ballots to absent military and overseas voters at least 45 days prior to a federal election. The supervisor of elections will send a ballot to each qualified UOCAVA voter who has requested a vote-by-mail ballot 45 days prior to each presidential preference primary, primary and general election.
Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP)
The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) was created to implement the requirements of UOCAVA. FVAP provides direct voter assistance to military and overseas voters regardless of their location in the world. Voting assistance officers, assigned to units of military installations and at each U.S. embassy or consulate, have a copy of the voting assistance guide to assist uniformed and overseas citizens. a copy of the guide may be found also on the FVAP website: www.fvap.gov.
Any question that cannot be answered by a voting assistance officer should be directed to the federal voting assistance program at:
To Register and Request a Vote-by-Mail Ballot in Florida
Uniformed service members, their dependents and citizens residing outside the United States may use a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote, request a vote-by-mail ballot and to update their contact information. You may also request a vote-by-mail ballot by fax or e-mail from the supervisor of elections. you must be registered in the state of Florida at least 29 days before an election to be eligible to vote in the election.
Pursuant to s. 97.055 Fla. Stat., an individual or accompanying family member who has been discharged or separated from the uniformed services or the U.S. Merchant Marine or has returned from a military deployment after the book closing date for an election and who is otherwise qualified may register to vote in such election until 5 p.m. on the Friday before that election in the office of the supervisor of elections. You must produce sufficient documentation showing evidence of eligibility for late registration.
Voting Residency Guidelines
For uniformed service members and their dependents: you must have or have had physical presence in Florida and the intent to remain in or make the state your home or domicile. You may only have one legal residence at a time. Consult your legal or JAG officer for more information on determining your legal residency for voting purposes.
For overseas citizens: "legal state of residence" for voting purposes is the state you last resided immediately prior to your departure from the United States. This right extends to overseas citizens even though they may no longer own property or have other ties to their last state of residence and their intent to return to that state may be uncertain. Consult a voting assistance officer at the nearest embassy/consulate for more information.