The eight-day, 96-hour early voting period starts Saturday at 56 polling places in South Florida's four counties.
Here's the early voting where-and-when, along with sample ballots for your county and other info you may need:
- Miami-Dade County has 20 places to vote. Sample ballot.
- Broward County has 17. Sample ballot.
- Palm Beach County, 14. Sample ballot.
- Monroe County, 5. Sample ballot.
You can pick your day and pick your time but local supervisors of elections say you shouldn’t try to beat the crowds.
There WILL be crowds. People are eager to vote in this election and the act of voting will be protracted by the size of the ballot. Federal, state and local races plus local initiatives and 11 proposed constitutional amendments -- each printed in its wonky entirety on the ballot itself -- will keep voters in the booths longer than planned.
So, here's how to prepare yourself and streamline the process as much as possible:
- Have your ID ready. Your drivers license is fine, or you can choose one from the approved list. You can still vote without a proper ID but it will be on a provisional ballot. And that won’t even be counted unless you come back later with acceptable identification.
- Get the sample ballot. Read it, figure out in advance how you’re going to vote, and shorten the voting line by reducing your booth time. If you haven't collected all of your thoughts about the ballot choices, there may an organization you trust that has issued recommendations suitable for your own political outlook. My colleague, Ashley Lopez, has made a little list of possibilities.
- Bring a sandwich. Not everybody will be as prepared as you.
- Be patient in line. Use the time to contemplate your place in history. Early voting has brought a sea change to the American electoral process. Energized early voters were credited with electing President Obama in 2008. And the resulting backlash led to legislation, litigation and an expansion of civil rights law.
So, go vote.