Voting Absentee in FL, SD, and TX for 2019 and 2020

Voting in Texas, Florida and South Dakota

2019 is is fairly quiet year for important elections. However, it doesn’t hurt to think ahead and prepare yourself for the excitement of 2020! Across the country, voting in the general election will take place on November 5, 2019 and November 3, 2020. For those of you domiciled in Florida, South Dakota and Texas, keep reading to learn important dates and ensure you are prepared to vote!

Voting Absentee in Sumter County, Florida

Registering to Vote

For the most current voting information for Sumter County, visit sumterelections.org.

There are no statewide elections for 2019 in Florida. However, it never hurts to go ahead and register if you haven’t already! Head over to SumterCountyElections.org to learn how to register to vote.

2020 Registration Deadlines

The Presidential Preference Primary is March 17, 2020. To participate in this election, you must be registered no later than February 2, 2020.

The primary election is August 18, 2020. To participate, you must be registered to vote no later than July 20, 2020.

The general election is November 3, 2020. To take part in this election, you must be registered to vote no later than October 5, 2020. 

Voting by Mail

Florida makes it simple for residents to vote by mail. 

According to the Florida Division of Elections, you may request your vote-by-mail ballot by completing the online application for your county, submitting your request in writing to your Supervisor of Elections, in person at the office of your Supervisor of Elections, or by calling your Supervisor of Elections. 

If you’re domiciled in Sumter County, you can reach your Supervisor of Elections by visiting their website

You MUST send in the ballot so that it arrives before 7:00 PM on election day. Make sure you request your ballot with plenty of time to receive and return it.

Early Voting

For the Presidential Preference Primary, early voting occurs March 7-14, 2020.

Early voting on the primary election occurs August 8-15, 2020.

Early voting for the general election runs October 20-31, 2020. 

Voting Absentee in Pennington County, South Dakota

Registering to Vote

In South Dakota, you must register 15 days before the election. You can register via mail by completing the Voter Registration Form and mailing it back. The form must be received at least 15 days before the election.

In addition to the November 5, 2019 general election, South Dakota has already released information for 2020’s elections and deadlines.

The 2020 Presidential Primary election occurs on June 2, 2020. The deadline to register for this election is May 17, 2020. 

Early Voting

You can vote absentee as early as 46 days before the election or as early as September 20, 2019.

For the 2020 Presidential Primary, absentee voting begins April 17.

For the 2020 General Election, absentee voting begins September 18.

Voting by Mail

Any registered South Dakota voter can vote absentee with no reason given up to 46 days before the election.  If you have not already done so for the primaries, then you need to complete and submit an absentee ballot application to the county where you are registered to vote.

For Pennington County, that address is 

130 Kansas City Street
Suite 230
PO Box 6160
Rapid City, SD 57709-6160

Your ballot must be received by 5:00 PM the day before the election. 

Voting Absentee in Polk County, Texas

Registering to Vote

In Polk County, Texas you must register to vote at least 30 days before the day of the election. You can get your application for registration via VoteTexas.gov, a website created by the Texas Secretary of State.

The last day to register to vote, to be eligible for the November 5 general election is October 7, 2019.

For the 2020 election cycle, registration deadlines as are follows:

  • Presidential Primary- February 3
  • Primary Runoff- April 27
  • General Election- October 5

Early Voting

Early in-person voting is October 21 – Nov. 1, 2019 for the November 5, 2019 general election.

You can only vote early by mail (they do not call it absentee voting in Texas) if:
 (1) you will be away from your county on election day and during the hours that early voting is conducted; or
(2) you are sick or disabled; or 
(3) you are 65 years of age or older on election day; or
(4) you are confined in jail.

For the 2020 election cycle, early voting in the Presidential Primary begins February 18 and ends February 28. Early voting for the Primary Runoff election is May 18-22. Early voting in the General Election is October 19-30. 

Voting by Mail

In Texas, voting absentee is a bit more complicated than in Florida and South Dakota.

Even if you have already filed to vote absentee in the primary and run-off elections held earlier in the year, you must request yet again to vote absentee in the general election unless you are 65 or older and then you only need to request absentee voting annually.

The link for the application by mail is: http://www.co.polk.tx.us/upload/page/3566/docs/CountyClerk/mail%20in%20application.pdf

 When you apply for a ballot by mail, you must request an application. Applications for voting by mail will be accepted through October 25, 2019 (received, not postmarked).

All mailed ballots must be received by 7:00 PM Central time on election day, November 5, 2019.

For the 2020 election cycle, you can submit your request to vote-by-mail as early as January 1, 2020. Submission deadlines are as follows:

  • For the Presidential Primary election on March 3, applications to vote by mail must be received by February 21, 2020. Completed ballots must be received by March 3 at 7:00 PM.
  • For the Primary Runoff election on May 26, applications to vote by mail must be received by May 15. Completed ballots must be received by 7:00 PM on May 26.
  • For the General Election on November 3, applications to vote by mail must be received by October 23. Completed ballots must be received by 7:00 PM on November 3.
Want to see the full list of dates for 2020? Visit the website of the Texas Secretary of State.

Once your application is received by the Country Clerk, a ballot will then be mailed to you.
The ballot must be mailed to an address outside of Polk County unless you are 65 or older or disabled (no proof necessary); however, you must indicate your reason for applying for an absentee ballot, e.g. disabled, away traveling, etc.

Escapees Mail Service members who will be traveling outside of Polk County may have their ballots sent to the following address for a a $5.00-per-ballot fee charged to their postage account to help defray the costs for this service.

Your Name
c/o Escapees RV Club
PO Box 1578
Shepherd, TX 77351

This box is for Escapees members who will be away traveling and do not have a secure temporary mailing address that they are comfortable using. Escapees Mail Service agents will forward these ballots on to you, but it is important to recognize that this can cause an additional time delay. It is always best to have your applications and ballots sent directly to you if at all possible

Escapees is always looking out for the rights of all RVers.

Read more about the issues Escapees has fought for so you can life the life you want on the road.

Speights v. Willis

In 2002, Escapees, Inc. was involved in a lawsuit in Polk County, Texas, with Speights v. Willis, No.09-02-192 CV (App. Ct. – Beaumont, October 24, 2002). The court determined in that lawsuit that members of Escapees RV Club who had created a domicile in Polk County, Texas, could vote in that county. This is one of the many reasons “establishing a domicile” is so important, especially for full-time RVers. If you are concerned about whether you have an established domicile, this case is helpful.

Rights at Risk

Your voting rights are currently at risk, so protect your right to vote by voting. The Supreme Court is now considering an Ohio law that purges the voting rolls of those who haven’t voted in a two-year period. Is it Constitutional to purge the rolls of those who fail to vote? The Supreme Court appears says yes.

I hope it will be a reminder that voting is a right and a privilege that should be exercised.

The law offices of Loring & Associates specializes in domicile-related questions and we are willing to offer assistance.

K. Susie Adams


K. Susie Adams SKP #134068

K. Susie Adams has been a lawyer for over 30 years, spending 15 of those years working as a trial lawyer. She also taught legal writing at the University of Houston Law School. From 2011–2016, she was executive director of Childrenz Haven, the Child Advocacy Center of Polk County, Texas. Susie and her husband, James Frost, reside in Livingston, Texas.

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14 Responses to “Voting Absentee in FL, SD, and TX for 2019 and 2020

  • Thanks for the info about voting by absentee ballot. I mailed my application to vote by absentee ballot on Sept 25,2018. I am a resident of Box Elder, Pennington County S.D. I use Americas Mailbox as my mailing service. Do you know when my absentee ballot will be mailed to me at Americas Mailbox. Thanks.

  • Recently we were in South Dakota and considering once we sell our house to register the RV in SD to save $ as over 2.5 million others do. But, we heard some say that the state changed and that they lost their right to vote because they do not reside permanently in SD – is this true? We see told that the state decide that so many oriole could swing the vote of the state so made this change – please help as no savings is worth our vote?

  • The link for absentee ballots did not work or was down.

  • Laird Markland
    10 months ago

    We are residents of Travis County, Texas. We are currently living in Costa Rica for the next two tears. Both my wife and I want to vote in the December General election. How can we obtain a ballot and when does the ballot need to be received in Travis County?

  • Greg Taylor
    10 months ago

    I see I can request Vote by Mail as early as January 1 2020. And, the latest date mail-in ballots will be accepted. But, is there a date after January 1 before which mail-in ballots for the general election will not be accepted? Looking at it another way is there a period ?????? to October 23 when ballots are accepted?

    • Georgianne Austin
      10 months ago

      Your ballot should be received at the designated address during the early voting period, but no later than the election day for which you are casting your ballot.

  • Jeff Signorini
    10 months ago

    I lived all of my life in Florida until my wife and I went full time in our motor home in March 2019. We lived in Pinellas County (Clearwater) but on setting up a mail forwarding account with Traveling Mailbox we used their Orange County (Orlando) address. The Orange County Supervisor of Elections office has now rejected us both twice. Pinellas County initially filed it for us to Orange and they said there was no problem. Then we again attempted it online. The first time only I got a response; the second only my wife got one. We filed separately. Both times they’ve said we have to have a physical residence and a mailing address “residence” was unacceptable. We’re still trying.

  • Thanks for this article and helping to facilitate voting by escapees members! I just requested my latest absentee ballot application. Maybe Escapees could do some advocating to the Texas legislature to not have to apply for absentee for every election! The county tells me that’s who decided that stupid policy. In California once you apply, you stay absentee until you change it. Texas doesn’t seem to be making it easy to vote absentee. However, Polk County did tell me that they have a new law that people over 65 can now have their absentee application be good for all elections in that year at least. Make sure you note that on your ballot application!

  • This is our first time to apply for a ballot by mail in Texas. I have a couple of questions:

    When will we receive our ballots? The way I read it we can start returning the ballot when early voting opens (but not before) and must have it received (not post marked) before the polls close on election day. But when do we receive the ballot from the county clerk so that we can meet these deadlines?

    On the form it asks for a date range that the mailing address is valid. Is there a problem with ending the range before election day. i.e. I will be at an address from Jan 22 to April 22. Early voting and mail-in starts on April 20, election day is May 3. I am not returning to the county but only have my Polk county address after April 22. Will my application for ballot by mail be rejected?

    • Georgianne Austin
      5 months ago

      Hi Ray!

      Unfortunately, we cannot predict how long it will take for you to receive your ballot. It depends on when you submit your form, how long it takes to process, and the route it takes to get back to you. If you use a mail forwarding address, that will take an extra day or two as well.

      The Primary Election is in March. The May dates you reference are for special elections. From reviewing the Polk County Clerk’s website, it doesn’t appear that there are any special elections planned for this year. With any mail-in ballots, they must be sent to an address outside of Polk County. If you use Escapees’s mail-forwarding service, we offer our members an address outside of Polk County to which ballots can be sent. We collect mail from there, sort into your PMB, and forward to you at your request. More information about this option is in the post above.

  • Steven Brown
    5 months ago

    In Texas, when are absentee ballots mailed out to us?

    • Georgianne Austin
      5 months ago

      Hi Steven!
      Mail-in ballots are sent to you after you request them. If you use a mail-forwarding service, you will also need to allow time for your forwarder to receive and process it then forward it on to you.

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