In this contentious election season, you may have thought this moment would never arrive: Early voting opened Monday across South Florida.
For those who remember the arduous early voting lines during the 2012 presidential election, here’s one comforting fact: South Floridians will have the longest window to vote allowed by the state. This year, in-person early voting has been expanded — there are more polling sites and the number of days and hours have lengthened — to better accommodate the crowds that presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could lure to the polls.
Miami-Dade and Broward are two of just nine counties — of the state’s 67 — that will offer the state’s allowable maximum of 168 hours of early voting over 14 days. In the last presidential election, Miami-Dade offered 96 hours over eight days. (The seven other counties offering 168 hours of early voting: Palm Beach, Pinellas, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Charlotte and Duval. Together, the nine counties cover nearly half of Florida’s approximately 12.66 million registered voters.)
Still, don’t wait until the last early voting day, Sunday, Nov. 6, in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and Saturday, Nov. 5, in Monroe County.
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Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections Christina White said presidential election turnout has typically been 67 to 72 percent but elections supervisors across the state are bracing for higher turnouts this year. In addition to more early-voting sites and more days, White said Miami-Dade’s polling locations are also larger, with more voting booths and more staff to serve voters. Because of this, and a much shorter ballot this year than in the last presidential election, she doesn’t expect a repeat of the long early-voting lines of 2012.
In Miami-Dade, about half of all voters typically vote early or by absentee ballot, White said. White advises voters to download a customized sample ballot and review it before hitting the polls, shortening the process on site. She also said www.miamidade.gov/elections will post estimated wait times for each station throughout the early-voting period and on Election Day, so voters will know what to expect. “As each day passes, more people vote early and the second week will be busier,” she said. “Don’t wait.”
Here’s the lowdown on early voting:
The presidential race tops the ballot, but depending on where you live, the general election also includes Senate and U.S. House seats, state legislative seats, judges, school boards, sheriffs, county commissioners and municipal elections, state constitutional amendments and local referendums. Find out more in the Miami Herald’s voters’ guide, which will be updated regularly through Election Day.
▪ Early voting stations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, through Sunday, Nov. 6, in Miami-Dade and Broward, and 8:30 to 5 p.m. Monday through Nov. 5 in the Florida Keys. Voters can cast their ballots at any of the open precincts in the county where they are registered; there are 30 sites in Miami-Dade County and 21 in Broward (up from 20 and 17 respectively in 2012) and five in the Keys. If you are in line at 7 p.m. (or 5 p.m. in the Keys), you will get to vote.
▪ Review your customized sample ballot before heading to the polls. In Miami-Dade, registered voters can access sample ballots at http://www.miamidade.gov/elections/voter-information.asp by entering some basic information. To receive a customized sample ballot via email prior to each election, sign up by calling 305-499-VOTE (8683).
In Broward, enter your information at http://www.browardsoe.org/Voter-Information/Sample-Ballot.
▪ You must show a photo and signature identification. Acceptable forms of ID include: Florida driver license, Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway, Safety and Motor Vehicles, U.S. passport, debit or credit card, military identification, student identification, retirement center identification, neighborhood association identification, or public assistance identification. Identification must be current and valid. You do not need to bring your voter ID card, and even if you do, a photo ID will be necessary.
▪ If you recently registered to vote and find that your name is not in the registration book, do not leave. Ask the election workers to call the county elections office and issue you a provisional ballot.
▪ Don’t want to go to the polls at all? Voters have until Nov. 2 to request absentee ballots, which must be received by 7 p.m. Nov. 8 in order to count.
However, if you’ve requested and received an absentee ballot and you later decide to vote at the polls, you must bring your absentee ballot with you so that it can be canceled before you vote at the polls.
This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
Miami-Dade Early Voting Locations
Hours: Oct. 24 through Nov. 6, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Adrienne Arsht Center: 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 33132, Peacock Education Center in the Knight Concert Hall
Arcola Lakes Branch Library: 8240 NW Seventh Ave., Miami, 33150
Betty T. Ferguson Community Center: 3000 NW 199th St., Miami Gardens, 33056
Carrie P. Meek Senior & Cultural Center: 1350 NW 50th St., Miami, 33142
Coral Gables Branch Library: 3443 Segovia St., Coral Gables, 33134
Coral Reef Branch Library: 9211 SW 152nd St., Miami, 33157
Elections Department (Main Office): 2700 NW 87th Ave., Doral, 33172
Historic Garage: 3250 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 33129 (Same property as the old Museum of Science)
Homestead Community Center (William F. “Bill” Dickinson Community Center): 1601 N. Krome Ave., Homestead, 33030
International Mall Branch Library: 10315 NW 12th St., Doral, 33172
John F. Kennedy Library: 190 W. 49th St., Hialeah, 33012
Kendall Branch Library: 9101 SW 97th Ave., Miami, 33176
Kendale Lakes Branch Library: 15205 SW 88th St., Miami, 33196
Lemon City Branch Library: 430 NE 61st St., Miami, 33137
Miami Beach City Hall: 1700 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach, 33139
Miami Lakes Community Center (Mary Collins Community Center): 15151 NW 82nd Ave., Miami Lakes, 33016
Model City Branch Library (Caleb Center): 2211 NW 54th St., Miami, 33142
Naranja Branch Library: 14850 SW 280th St., Homestead, 33032
North Dade Regional Library: 2455 NW 183rd St., Miami Gardens, 33056
North Miami Public Library: 835 NE 132nd St., North Miami, 33161
North Shore Branch Library: 7501 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 33141
Northeast Dade-Aventura Branch Library: 2930 Aventura Blvd., Aventura, 33180
Palmetto Bay Branch Library: 17641 Old Cutler Road, Palmetto Bay, 33157
Pinecrest Branch Library: 5835 SW 111th St., Pinecrest, 33156
Shenandoah Branch Library: 2111 SW 19th St., Miami, 33145
South Dade Regional Library: 10750 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay, 33189
Stephen P. Clark Government Center (Elections Branch Office): 111 NW First St. (Lobby), Miami, 33128
West Dade Regional Library: 9445 SW 24th St., Miami, 33165
West End Regional Library: 10201 Hammocks Blvd., Miami, 33196
West Miami Community Center: 901 SW 62nd Ave., West Miami, 33144
Broward County Early Voting Locations
Hours: Oct. 24 through Nov. 6, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
African-American Research Library: 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., (NW Sixth St.), Fort Lauderdale, 33311
Coral Ridge Mall (North or Northwest Entrance): 3200 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale, 33306
Davie/Cooper City Branch Library: 4600 SW 82nd Ave., Davie, 33328
Emma Lou Olson Civic Center: 1801 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach, 33060
Fort Lauderdale Branch Library/Art Serve: 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Room 130, Fort Lauderdale, 33304
Hallandale Beach Cultural Community Center: 410 SE Third St., Hallandale Beach, 33009
Hollywood Branch Library: 2600 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 33020
Miramar Branch Library: 2050 Civic Center Place, Miramar, 33025
North Regional Library/Broward College: 1100 Coconut Creek Blvd., Coconut Creek, 33066
Northwest Regional Library: 3151 University Dr., Coral Springs, 33065
Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex: 445 SW Second St., Deerfield Beach, 33441
Parkland Recreation and Enrichment Center: 10559 Trails End, Parkland, 33076
Supervisor of Elections branch office at E. Pat Larkins Community Center: 520 Martin Luther King Blvd., Pompano Beach, 33060
Supervisor of Elections branch office at Lauderhill Mall: 1519 NW 40th Ave., Lauderhill, 33313
South Regional Library/Broward College: 7300 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, 33024
Southwest Regional Library: 16835 Sheridan St., Pembroke Pines, 33331
Sunrise Senior Center: 10650 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Sunrise, 33351
Tamarac Branch Library: 8701 W. Commercial Blvd., Tamarac, 33321
West Regional Library: 8601 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation, 33324
Weston Branch Library: 4205 Bonaventure Blvd., Weston, 33332
Wilton Manors City Hall: 2020 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors, 33305
Florida Keys Early Voting Locations
Hours: Oct. 24 through Nov. 5, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Supervisor of Elections Offices:
530 Whitehead St. #101, Key West
10015 Overseas Hwy., Marathon
102050 Overseas Hwy. #137, Key Largo
Big Pine Key Community Park: End of Sands Road, 31009 Atlantis Dr., Big Pine Key
Islamorada Branch Library: 81830 Overseas Hwy., Mile Marker 81.7, Islamorada