Protect Your Vote: League of Women Voters Urges Floridians to Vote Early
This year’s 2012 November 6 ballot is the longest in Florida’s history, with over 11 constitutional amendments that require study. In addition, all voters need to understand that Florida’s election laws have recently changed. These changes could impact voters who wait until Election Day to vote. This is particularly true of voters who have recently moved.
The League reminds all voters to take advantage of Early Voting. Orange County offers early voting at 9 local libraries, from 8:00 am. to 8:00 pm, Saturday to Saturday, Oct. 27 to Nov. 3rd. You can also early vote at the Supervisors of Elections office, 119 West Kaley, Orlando, 32806. Alternatively, you can vote by mail (known as absentee voting). You can call and request an absentee ballot at 407-836-2070, up until Wed, October 31. Any voter can request a ballot and there is no charge. Be sure to sign the back of the envelope before you mail it back. If there is no signature, your vote won’t count. Return postage in Orange County is $.65.
REMEMBER: ELECTION DAY IS THE LAST DAY TO VOTE.
Find your closest early voting library site at www.bereadytovote.org
Reasons to vote early:
(1) Because staff at early voting sites have access to the live, statewide voter registration database and can verify your eligibility to vote on the spot.
(2) At Early Voting, you can conveniently resolve most issues you might encounter with your voting status.
For example, Vote Early:
- if you have any uncertainty about your eligibility to vote
- if you have moved from another county in Florida
- if you’re not sure if you’re registered at your current address
- if you’re not sure if your signature has changed
- if you’re not sure if you have valid signature and photo identification
- if you requested but did not receive your mail-in-ballot
- if you received but then lost your mail-in-ballot
- if you’re not sure you can make it to your own precinct on Election Day
(3) Voting Early gives you time to fix issues with your status.
(4) Vote early because you can update your address at the early voting site even if you moved from out of the county.
(By contrast, if you wait to vote on Election Day and you have moved from one county to another in Florida, then you must vote a provisional ballot rather than a regular ballot.)
(5) Vote Early because when you cast a regular ballot in person, you can fix your ballot if you make a mistake.
(For example, when you vote a regular ballot, you put the ballot in the machine yourself. If you vote for two candidates in the same race, the machine will spit out your ballot.)
When you vote in person, you are allowed up to three ballots to get it right. By contrast, when you vote by mail, you get only one chance.
(6) Vote Early because you have more choices about where and when to vote:
When you vote early, you can vote at any of the five early voting locations (the library branches plus the Elections Office.) Voters may participate in early voting at any location, regardless of where they reside in the county. By contrast, when you vote on Election Day, you must vote at the precinct assigned to your current address.
By Charley Williams, Voter Services Chair, League of Women Voters of Florida