What is early voting?
As part of election reform legislation in Florida , early voting has been an available option since 2002. Registered voters in Florida can opt to cast their votes early at designated sites throughout the county 10 days before the election. It has already proven to be a success in Palm Beach 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 sites and cast their ballot using the optical scanners 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, vote 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?
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 who you support, early voting may be a good option for you.
Can I change my vote?
Once you have voted, either through early voting or by a mail ballot, your vote is cast and final.
How does this affect vote by mail ballots?
Early voting is just 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 to vote by mail.
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, vote by mail or on Election Day.
What do I need to vote early?
All you need to do is show up with your current photo and signature ID. It's also a great idea to bring a sample ballot with you that is already marked with your choices. You can transfer your choices onto your actual ballot, feed it into the optical scanner and get quickly on your way.
I've requested a vote by mail ballot. Can I participate in early voting at one of the locations?
Yes. However, if you've requested and received a mail ballot and you later decide to vote at the polls, you must bring your mail ballot with you so that we can cancel it before you vote at the polls.