What is early voting?
As part of election reform legislation in Florida, early voting has been an available option since 2002. The early voting period must start at least on the 10th day before the election and end on the 3rd day before the election. In addition, supervisors of elections have the option to offer more early voting on the 15th, 14th, 13th, 12th, 11th, or 2nd day before an election. During this period, early voting may be provided no less than eight and no more than 12 hours per day at each site. It has already proven to be a success in Duval County and is getting more popular with each election.
How is it done?
It’s simple. Registered voters can go to any of the locations designated as early voting centers and cast a paper ballot just as they would normally do on Election Day.
Why should I vote early?
The intent is to meet the needs of busy people who want more options than just voting on a single day at a single precinct. We want to remove any physical or psychological barriers that might prevent someone from voting. If you know, for example, that you have a full day’s worth of activities on Election Day, you can make it easier on yourself by taking advantage of the early voting option. Between early voting, voting by mail and traditional polling on Election Day, there are a number of voting options so that no one should be prevented from voting.
Are there any drawbacks to early voting?
No. Early voting provides flexibility and convenience. However, some voters may wish to wait until Election Day to cast their votes. Historically, there has always been a crush of last-minute news coverage or other information about the candidates that happens in the final days of a campaign. This information may be helpful in making a decision. However, if you know whom you support, early voting may be a good option for you.
Can I change my vote?
No. Once you have voted, either through early voting or by an absentee ballot, your vote is cast and final.
How does this affect vote-by-mail ballots?
Early voting is another option to allow people to participate in the election process. Voters who may be out of town on Election Day, or otherwise be unable to cast a ballot at that time, can now choose between voting early or requesting and mailing in the vote-by-mail ballot.
How will early voting affect the election?
Apart from providing more options as to how you vote, it is hoped that early voting will encourage more voter participation. By law, votes are tallied at the conclusion of Election Day, whether they have been through early voting, voting by mail or on Election Day.
What do I need to vote early?
All that is needed is your current photo and signature ID. You may also bring your sample ballot with you that is already marked with your choices. That way you can quickly enter your choices on the ballot, place your ballot in the tabulator, and be on your way.