Tips for first time voters


Early voting began on Oct. 24, but numerous voters wait until Election Day to fill out their ballot. For many college students, this is the first election they will have the ability to cast their vote and the details of the process may be unclear.  

Because so many citizens vote on the official day, lines at polling locations tend to be quite long on Election Day.  Be prepared to wait. Bring a bottle of water and remember to eat prior to showing up. Many lines wrap around the building so check the weather. It is unlikely that voters can successfully cast their vote in five minutes. 

While a wait will more than likely be unavoidable, going in the early morning will almost guarantee a fast experience. Doors are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Employers are not legally obliged in Florida to provide employees extra time off from work in Florida to vote. Consequently, those who work tend to go during lunch breaks. Going between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., when most voters have returned to their occupations, will most likely help in beating the rush.

Upon arrival, have at least one photo ID at the ready. Voter registration cards are helpful to bring along as well, though one is not required. 

Unlike early voting, Election Day requires voters to cast their vote at their designated precinct. This can be found on the Supervisor of Elections website for each county. Double-checking proper polling stations online can help to avoid driving and waiting in line at the wrong precinct.

Legally, no one is allowed to campaign within the polling location. However, the surrounding area is fair game. Many of the local candidates or their supporters will be waiting the required 100 feet from the entrance, passing out flyers or trying to strike up a conversation in an attempt to capture undecided voters on their way in.

Separate from the line to fill out a ballot is the line to feed the ballot into a machine, which tallies the votes. The poll workers will not touch the ballots after they have been handled by voters. 

As an added incentive, anyone wearing an “I voted” sticker, which can be picked up at the exit to the polling location, will receive a free doughnut from Krispy Kreme on Election Day.