In-person Early Voting in Florida begins today: What you need to know

‘Vote Here’ sign placed on the walkway to a neighborhood polling place, as seen on election day in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Photo: Jillian Cain Photography/

Today, Oct. 19., 2020 marks the beginning of early voting in Florida.

Early voting is the process by which constituents are allowed to cast their ballot before the designated election day.

Polling places in some counties opened as early as 7 a.m. this morning with lines stretching around the block—a strong voting sign that hasn’t been seen in years.

In South Florida, voters went to the polls early; many seen with umbrellas and ponchos mid-downpour as storms crossed the state. In Tampa, Raymond James Stadium and Amalie Arena prepared for voter arrival before 7 a.m.

Early voting’s convenience is to allow as much time as possible to accurately count and obtain votes in a given state before the election day rush. Some reports estimate that roughly 3 million people will partake in early voting before Election Day on Nov. 3.

But with the pandemic, polling places will likely face some problems regarding voting wait times and sanitization procedures.

Polling places have been preparing for such numbers and are required to have hand-sanitizing stations and follow social distancing procedures outlined by the state.

Precincts in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties require voters to have a mask on and provide a mask if needed at the polling station.

If voters choose not to vote in-person, all precincts will have a designated drop-off box outside where they may deposit their ballot.

As of 9 a.m. this morning, over 2.5 million voters had cast a ballot via mail-in voting in the Sunshine State. 

If you vote in-person this year, remember to take your voter registration card and a valid form of identification.

For a list of polling locations in the state, click here. Hours of operation vary by county. 

If you do not know where your polling place is, contact your county Supervisor of Elections. You can also find your precinct and polling place on your county Supervisor of Elections’ website or using the Voter Information Lookup.

Early voting will run until the first weekend in November; please check with your local polling location to find the exact date by clicking here

If you liked this story and want to see more about the election and the state government, click here.