ORLANDO, Fla. – If you haven’t been paying attention, there’s an election this Tuesday.
Polls across Florida open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. local time (part of Florida is in Eastern Standard Time and the western part of the panhandle is in Central Time).
If you didn’t vote early or haven’t turned in your vote-by-mail ballot, here’s a chance to make your voice heard in several races before the main event on Nov. 8.
Linda Metoyer in Seminole County says she usually votes early, but didn’t get a chance, so she was at her polling place this morning.
“The people before us worked hard to get us to vote, so I feel it’s my obligation to make sure I vote,” Metoyer said. “No matter how busy or whatever I’m doing, I’m always going to find a way to come vote.”
As of 8:30 a.m., more than 2.2 million Floridians have either voted early or turned in a vote-by-mail ballot, according to the Florida Division of Elections. Another 2.5 million vote-by-mail ballots are still outstanding. It’s slightly more than the number of people who voted early or by mail in 2018′s primary. It’s still only about 15.6% of the electorate in the state.
According to reports from the field, the polling places have seen a slow trickle of voters.
Remember, if you decide to vote after work, and you are in line to vote when the polling place closes at 7 p.m., poll workers are supposed to allow you to vote.
If you need help voting, you can call the state’s voter assistance hotline at 1-866-308-6739.
If you need to report voter fraud, the state Division of Elections has a hotline for that too: 1-877-868-3737.
Here’s what you need to know.
What you’re voting on
All Races Florida Primary Election on Aug. 23, 2022
News 6 is following 141 races on ballots across our 10-county Central Florida area.
Some of those races are partisan primaries. That means that only people who are members of a political party can vote in that party’s primary (i.e. Democrats can only vote in Democratic primaries, etc.). The winners of these primaries will face other candidates in the November elections.
Some of those races though are nonpartisan, which means all voters can take part. All school board races, for instance, are nonpartisan. Some counties have nonpartisan county commission races or ballot questions. There are also some city races that will be nonpartisan, as well as judges’ races.
There are also several universal primaries for state legislature races where all voters can decide on the winner.
Want to see what will be on your ballot? You can look up your sample ballot on your county’s supervisor of elections website.
- ORANGE COUNTY: View your sample ballot
- SEMINOLE COUNTY: View your sample ballot
- OSCEOLA COUNTY: View your sample ballot
- VOLUSIA COUNTY: View Your sample ballot
- BREVARD COUNTY: View your sample ballot
- MARION COUNTY: View Your sample ballot
- FLAGLER COUNTY: View Your Sample Ballot
- LAKE COUNTY: View Your Sample Ballot
- SUMTER COUNTY: View your sample ballot
- POLK COUNTY: View your sample ballot
News 6 will have results for all races when they come in. Every race is important, but Central Floridians should keep a close eye on these races. We consider them key ballot items to watch for the Aug. 23 primary election. Check them out below.
How to vote
On Election Day, voters need to go to their polling precincts to vote.
To find your precinct, look up your voter info on your county’s supervisor of elections website. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and remember, if you are in line to vote at 7 p.m., stay in line, you cannot be turned away. Go to the county link below to look up your polling precinct.
To vote, you need to bring a form of identification with a picture and a signature.
To find out what forms of identification are allowed, and what to do if you don’t have an ID, click HERE.
If you are registered to vote in Florida but you’ve moved, and you haven’t changed your address, you need to go to your new polling place and update your address. You should be allowed to vote then.
Not registered to vote?
If you have not registered to vote yet, you cannot vote in this election. Florida does not have same-day voter registration like other states do.
Now is a great time, however, to register for the Nov. 8 general election. You have until Oct. 11 to do so. You can find out how to register to vote, update your register or make sure your voter registration is still active HERE on our website.
If you still have a vote-by-mail ballot
As of Monday, Aug. 22, 2.585 million people still have their vote-by-mail ballots and have not returned them, according to the Florida Division of Elections.
If you are one of those people, do not mail in your ballot now. It will not get to the county elections office in time.
Instead, hand deliver the ballot to your county elections office, or go to your polling precinct, turn your vote-by-mail ballot into them and election workers will give you a fresh regular ballot to vote on and turn in.
A few election myths to be aware of
Myths, misunderstandings and misinformation are possible with any election. Sometimes it’s well-meaning, sometimes it’s malicious.
Here are a few Election Day myths we’ve debunked in the past that matter in Tuesday’s election. You can find more HERE.
MYTH: If you voted in a primary, you can’t vote in a general election.
THE TRUTH: Primaries and general elections are two separate elections. In Florida, we may have elections at any time during the year. You are permitted to vote for any and all elections in which you are in the proper jurisdiction, be it a local election, a state election or a federal election.
MYTH: If you make a mistake on your ballot, you can’t change it.
THE TRUTH: As long as you have not turned in your ballot, if you make a mistake you can exchange it for a new one.
MYTH: If you leave a race blank on your ballot, your whole ballot won’t count.
THE TRUTH: You do not have to vote on every race on the ballot. If you vote on only one race, that vote will count.
MYTH: Anyone can stop you from voting.
THE TRUTH: There are poll monitors who can challenge your vote. But they cannot make frivolous challenges, and in fact, can be fined for doing so. Moreover, even if your vote faces a challenge, you will be given a provisional ballot, which the county elections office will check against your records to make sure you are allowed to vote.
MYTH: The polls close at 7 p.m. on Election Day and if you are still in line, you won’t be allowed to vote.
THE TRUTH: As long as you are standing in line to vote at a polling place by 7 p.m. on Election Day, you will be allowed to vote. Polling places must allow everyone in line the chance to vote.
MYTH: No one can be at the voting booth with you, including children.
THE TRUTH: As long as you are the only person voting, you can take children into the voting booth, and other adults who can help you if needed.
MYTH: You can’t take any materials with you to the voting booth.
THE TRUTH: County supervisor elections offices send out sample ballots so you can make your choices ahead of time. You can take election guides, sample ballots and any other materials you need to make an informed decision.
MYTH: You can’t take any pictures in the voting booth.
THE TRUTH: The Florida Legislature now allows voters to take pictures of their ballot – and only their ballot – in the voting booth.
MYTH: Provisional ballots only count in close races.
THE TRUTH: Provisional ballots are merely ballots that require extra scrutiny from the county canvassing board, but if they are approved, they are counted as regular ballots toward the vote total.
MYTH: Hackers can change votes.
THE TRUTH: Florida’s voting system is highly decentralized and localized. The only time the system is connected to a network is when votes are transmitted. Florida election officials say the system is designed to make it impossible for hackers to change votes.
MYTH: Early votes and vote-by-mail ballots only count in close races.
THE TRUTH: In Florida, early votes and vote-by-mail ballots are among the first to be counted and are just as important as Election Day votes.