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Early voting in Florida’s Aug. 23 Primary Election begins next week

kgroovy via Flickr Creative Commons

Early voting in Florida’s Aug. 23 Primary Election begins next week. Dates, times, and locations to cast a ballot early in-person vary depending on where voters are registered. For example, the early voting window begins Monday, Aug. 8, for registered voters in Charlotte and Hendry Counties, but early voting in Collier, Glades, Lee, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties doesn’t begin until Saturday, Aug. 13.

In order to take advantage of early voting, voting by mail, or voting on election day in the primary, residents must have registered to vote by July 25. As required by state law, registered voters looking to cast a ballot at an early voting site must provide a valid photo ID that includes a signature. Acceptable forms of identification include a Florida drivers’ license or state ID card, a U.S. passport, a concealed weapon license, military or student ID, or a veteran health ID card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, among others.

Voters who show up to vote early without a valid photo/signature ID will still be given a provisional ballot; however, the validity of such provisional ballots must then be determined by the county supervisor of elections offices’ canvasing board.

Early voting sites in each county will also serve as locations where voters can deliver their vote-by-mail ballots into a secure ballot intake station during official early voting hours when the stations can be monitored by election workers. Vote-by-mail ballots can also be returned through the U.S. Postal Service and voters choosing this option are advised to get those ballots in the mail at least a week prior to election day.

Residents choosing the vote-by-mail option in this month’s primary have until 5 p.m. on Aug. 13 to request a vote-by-mail ballot.

When it comes to election integrity, Collier County Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards notes that elections offices have specific controls in place specifically for early voting.

“We use controls like reconciliations. We even reconcile the blank ballot paper that is at early voting locations because we are required to print the ballots at early voting locations, Because we have so many different ballot styles, voters can go to any of the early voting locations and we’ll have their ballot for them. So, we’ll print it,” said Edwards.

“So, we have to reconcile the blank paper at the early voting locations. That’s just one example of what we do.”

Early voting in Florida began 18 years ago when the state legislature amended election laws to create a standardized and mandatory process to accommodate in-person early voting.

A 2004 election study from Florida’s first year of early voting found that 28% of early voters said convenience was their primary reason choosing the option. Another 30% said they voted early to avoid the rush and potential long lines to cast a ballot on election day.

A 2010 Florida Senate report on the impacts of early voting notes that it provides a more convenient opportunity for those with special needs to cast a ballot, as well as for those with weekday time limitations, and workers who can’t take time off to vote on election day since early voting sites are open daily, including on weekends.

Since its introduction, early voting in Florida has tended to grow in popularity. Data from the Florida Division of Elections shows that a total of 4,332,221 Floridians voted early in the 2020 General Election compared to 1,309,552 people who voted early in Florida’s 2014 General Election. An analysis of early voting numbers broken down by party affiliation shows no clear preference for early voting based on party. In the last eight statewide primary and general elections, more Republicans than Democrats voted early half the time, and more Democrats than Republicans voted early the other half.

The vote-by-mail option, however, dropped in popularity among Republican voters in 2020 amid a series of false attacks on the integrity of mail-in voting by then President Donald Trump. Early numbers so far indicate that slump may be over as registered Republicans account for about 46% of vote-by-mail ballots cast so far in the Aug. 23 primary, marking an increase of 8% from two years ago.

Here’s a county-by-county breakdown of early voting locations, dates, and times. Anyone with additional questions about early voting is urged to contact their county supervisor of elections office.

Charlotte County: https://www.soecharlottecountyfl.gov/

Early Voting runs Aug. 8-21, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily

Early Voting Locations:

  • Mac V. Horton West County Annex – 6868 San Casa Drive, Englewood, FL 34224
  • Mid-County Regional Library – 2050 Forrest Nelson Boulevard, Port Charlotte, FL 33952
  • Punta Gorda Historic Courthouse – 226 Taylor Street, Punta Gorda, FL 33950

Collier County: https://www.colliervotes.gov/

Early Voting runs Aug.13-20, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily

Early Voting Locations:

  • Collier County Government Complex – 3311 Tamami Trail, Naples, Naples, FL  34112
  • Everglades City Hall – 102 Copeland Avenue N, Everglades City, FL  34139
  • Golden Gate Community Center – 4701 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, FL  34116
  • Heritage Bay Government Services Center – 15450 Collier Boulevard, Naples, FL  34120
  • Immokalee Community Park – 321 N First Street, Immokalee, FL  34142
  • Library Headquarters – 2385 Orange Blossom Drive, Naples, FL  34109
  • Marco Island Library – 210 S Heathwood Drive, Marco Island, FL  34145
  • Norris Center at Cambier Park – 755 8th Avenue S, Naples, FL  34102
  • North Collier Regional Park – 15000 Livingston Road, Naples, FL  34109
  • South Regional Library – 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway, Naples, FL  34113
  • Supervisor of Elections Office – 3750 Enterprise Avenue, Naples, FL  34104

Glades County: https://www.voteglades.com/

Early Voting runs Aug. 13-20, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily

Early Voting Location: Supervisor of Elections Office 998 US HWY 27 South, Moore Haven, FL 33471

Hendry County: https://www.hendryelections.org/

Early Voting runs Aug. 8-20, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily

Early Voting Locations:

  • Clewiston Elections Office – 1100 S Olympia Street, Clewiston, FL  33440
  • LaBelle Elections Office – 25 E Hickpochee Avenue, LaBelle, FL  33935

Lee County: https://www.lee.vote/

Early Voting runs Aug. 13-20, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily

Early Voting Locations:

  • Cape Coral-Lee County Library – 921 SW 39th Terrace, Cape Coral, FL  33914
  • Dr. Carrie D. Robinson Center – 2990 Edison Avenue, Fort Myers, FL  33916
  • East County Regional Library – 881 Gunnery Road N, Lehigh Acres, FL  33971
  • Estero Recreation Center – 9200 Corkscrew Palms Boulevard, Estero, FL  33928
  • Fort Myers Regional Library – Voting room address: 1651 Lee Street, Fort Myers, FL  33901/Library address: 2450 First Street, Fort Myers, FL  33901
  • Lakes Regional Library – 15290 Bass Road, Fort Myers, FL  33919
  • Lee County Elections Bonita Springs Branch Office – 25987 S Tamiami Trail #105, Bonita Springs, FL  34134
  • Lee County Elections Cape Coral Branch Office – 1039 SE 9th Avenue, Cape Coral, FL  33990
  • Lee County Elections Center – 13180 S Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers, FL  33907
  • North Fort Myers Recreation Center – 2000 N Recreation Park Way, North Fort Myers, FL  33903
  • Northwest Regional Library – 519 Chiquita Boulevard N, Cape Coral, FL  33993
  • Riverside Community Center – 3061 E Riverside Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33916
  • Veterans Park Recreation Center – 55 Homestead Road S, Lehigh Acres, FL 33936 

Manatee County: https://www.votemanatee.com/

Early Voting runs Aug. 13-20, 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily

Early Voting Locations:

  • Lakewood Ranch Town Hall 8175 Lakewood Ranch Blvd, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
  • Manatee County Utilities Administration Office 4410 66th St W, Bradenton, FL 34210
  • Palmetto Library 923 6th St. W, Palmetto, FL 3.4221
  • Rocky Bluff Library 6750 US Hwy 301, Ellenton, FL 34222
  • Supervisor of Elections Office 600 301 Blvd W, Bradenton, FL 34205

Sarasota County: https://www.sarasotavotes.gov/

Early Voting runs Aug. 13-21, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily

Early Voting Locations:

  • Sarasota Elections Office, Terrace Bldg., 2001 Adams Lane, Sarasota
  • Venice Elections Office, R.L. Anderson Admin Bldg., 4000 Tamiami Trail S., Rm. 114, Venice
  • North Port Elections Office, Biscayne Plaza, 13640 Tamiami Trail, North Port
  • North Sarasota Public Library, 2801 Newtown Blvd., Sarasota
  • Fruitville Public Library, 100 Apex Road, Sarasota
  • The Devyn Event Center, 7113 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

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