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Vote in person, vote early

Pre-COVID file photo

OPINION

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Len and I voted on Friday at the Legacy Park Multipurpose Center in Alachua. While it didn’t take long and there will be many more precincts open on Election Day, the steady stream of voters and slow movement of the line could signal long waits if you wait until November 3 to vote.

We recommend voting in person to be absolutely sure your vote is recorded, and the deadline has passed for requesting a mail-in ballot.

The ballot is long, which explains why the line moved slowly. You can minimize the time it takes to fill out your ballot by checking out our Voter Guide.

Masks are recommended but not required; there is little social distancing in line and inside the voting area. If you are concerned about minimizing your exposure to others and don’t have a mail-in ballot, you will likely encounter shorter lines and smaller crowds in the coming week than on Election Day.

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You can vote in person even if you’ve requested a mail-in ballot. From the Florida Department of State: “A voter who has requested a ballot may change his or her mind and vote in person. The voter should bring the ballot (marked or unmarked) to the polls to turn the ballot in and vote a regular ballot. If the voter does not bring the ballot to the polls for whatever reason, the Supervisor of Elections’ office will need to confirm that the ballot has not already been returned and received. If the ballot has not been received, the voter will be allowed to vote a regular ballot. If the ballot has been received, the ballot is deemed cast and the voter to have voted.”

Early voting for the 2020 General Election continues today through Oct. 31. Locations are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Early voting locations are as follows:

  • Supervisor of Elections Office (515 N Main Street, Suite 100, Gainesville)
  • Millhopper Branch Library (3145 NW 43rd Street, Gainesville)
  • Tower Road Branch Library (3020 SW 75th Street, Gainesville)
  • Alachua Legacy Park Multipurpose Center (15400 Peggy Road, Alachua)
  • Orange Heights Baptist Church (16700 NE SR 26, Hawthorne)
  • J. Wayne Reitz Union, University of Florida (655 Reitz Union Drive, Ground Level of the Career Connections Center, Gainesville)
  • Voting early is still an in-person vote, and particularly this year, it’s a good option for people who are worried about crowds or other problems that could affect Election Day.

  • I requested a mail-in ballot and dropped it in the box outside the library. I found it to be easier than waiting in line and it avoid problems with the postal service.

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