ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Final preps are underway this weekend at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office as early voting wraps up this weekend.
Poll workers and staff were at the elections office Saturday morning preparing for the primary election day on Tuesday.
Each clerk in charge of one of the county’s 247 polling places arrived by appointment. They practiced social distancing as they picked up their supplies for their precincts.
They took with them large blue bags filled with everything will they need.
"They're getting a lot of the paper material that is used. They also got one big bag that's going to have all of their COVID-19 supplies in it," supervisor of elections Bill Cowles said.
The clerks rolled out of the warehouse with ballots, signs, and personal protective equipment because of the pandemic, like extra masks and hand sanitizer.
Cowles said early Sunday morning before sunrise, more than 30 trucks will arrive to load up the voting machines.
"So we have to get the trucks in and out as quickly as possible," he said.
Cowles said that is because the elections office is also an early voting location. This weekend marks the final days to cast your ballot early.
He said Friday was a record day with more than 4,000 people voting early. He adds his office is processing more than 100,000 vote by mail ballots returned so far. He said that is the highest number ever returned for a primary election.
"Vote by mail has been extremely popular, probably for those who don't want to go put and vote in person," Cowles said.
He warns if you still have a vote by mail ballot, you should not send it in the mail. He said you should drop it off at an early voting location by 7 p.m. on Sunday when early voting ends. Or he said you can take it to the elections office or your polling place on Tuesday and trade it for a ballot to vote in person.
Cowles said there is a lot of work to do and they're ready.
"The countdown is on to Tuesday," he said.
Early voting ends in Orange and Osceola counties on Sunday, August 16. Early voting for the rest of the counties in Central Florida ends on Saturday.