Early voting in South Florida begins on Monday. Here's all you need to know in case you're looking to beat the Election Day crowds.
DECISION 2020: GUIDES TO VOTING IN FLORIDA
How can I vote early?
First of all, make sure that you're registered to vote. Click here to visit the Florida Department of State's voter registration lookup tool. You can plug in your name and birth date to check your voter status, including your polling place, sample ballot and vote-by-mail ballot status.
Early voting in Florida will run from October 19th to November 1st. Registered voters can show up to cast their ballot at any early voting location within their county.
In Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, early voting locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In Monroe County, they'll open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- A list of early voting sites in Miami-Dade County can be found here
- A list of early voting sites in Broward County can be found here
- A list of early voting sites in Palm Beach County can be found here
- A list of early voting sites in Monroe County can be found here
To track the number of early votes that have been cast, visit the Florida Division of Elections' website. As of noon Monday, 2,509,293 votes had already been cast in the state by mail.
What do I need to bring to the voting center?
Early voters will be asked to present a valid photo identification with a signature.
Here are examples of forms of photo and signature identification that will be accepted, according to the Florida Division of Elections:
- Driver's license
- United States passport
- Debit or credit card
- Military identification
- Student identification
- Retirement center identification
- Neighborhood association identification
- Public assistance identification
- Veteran health identification card
If you do not have the proper identification, you should still be allowed to fill out a provisional ballot.
Can I take a ballot selfie?
Photos are forbidden at voting sites in Florida, but a new statute says that voters are allowed to take pictures of their ballot. Here's the exact wording:
"No photography is permitted in the polling room or early voting area, except an elector may photograph his or her own ballot."
Can I bring my phone or sample ballot with me to help me vote?
Florida voters won't just be casting a vote for the next president. Across the state, they'll be voting for 27 members of Congress, 120 members of the House of Representatives and 20 members of the Florida Senate, as well as state clerks, judges and justices.
That's why it might be a good idea to download your personalized sample ballot. You can do that by using the Florida Department of State's voter registration lookup tool.
Once you plug in your name and birth date, scroll down to where it says 'Access Ballot and Precinct Information' and then click 'View Sample Ballot' under 'Current Elections.'
You can bring a copy of your sample ballot with you to vote, or you can use your phone if you have the information there.
Make sure to check out NBC 6's guide to what (and who) will be on the Florida 2020 ballot.
How can I prevent getting caught in long lines?
The rush to vote early is a phenomenon that has already shattered early turnout records across the nation, driven both by Democratic enthusiasm and a pandemic that has claimed more than 217,000 American lives.
As early voting begins in Florida, the busiest days will most likely be the first day (Monday, October 19) and the last (Sunday, November 1). Generally, weekends are busier than during the week, and peak hours are before and after work and during lunchtime.
Miami-Dade County's supervisor of elections website offers wait times for every early voting location. Palm Beach County does the same (scroll down to the map at the bottom of this page and click on a location to check its wait time).
How can I practice coronavirus safety?
County officials have taken extensive measures to ensure that voting centers have enhanced hygiene and cleaning protocols to keep voters safe during the pandemic.
Poll workers will be wearing masks, and hand sanitizer will be available at the center. Also be sure to practice COVID safety as advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Keep your distance from others. The CDC recommends at least six feet of distance.
- Wear a mask. Put it on before arriving at the polling location and don't take it off until you leave. Keep your nose and mouth covered, and don't touch your face.
- Wash your hands. Whenever possible, wash your hands, especially after touching surfaces or items that others may have touched. If possible, bring hand sanitizer and use it frequently.
- Don't bring anyone of non-voting age with you to your polling location, and try to go during non-peak hours (polls tend to be busiest first thing in the morning, over lunch hours and after work).