Going to the polls today? Here’s how to prepare and what to know

Voters ready to hit the polls on Election Day

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – If you’ve waited to vote in person and are planning on going to the polls to vote on Election Day, expect lines, of course, but also know that the counties’ Department of Elections are prepared to keep things moving. Here’s how to prepare for Tuesday and what to know.

If you’ve waited to vote in person and are planning on going to the polls to vote on Election Day, expect lines, of course, but also know that the counties’ Department of Elections are prepared to keep things moving. Here’s how to prepare for Tuesday and what to know.

When are the polls open on Tuesday?

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Any voters waiting in line at 7 p.m. will have the opportunity to cast a ballot.

Before you go, check to see that you are registered to vote.

Registration for this election has closed, so make sure you check your status using the Voter Information Lookup Tool on the Florida Division of Elections website before heading out.

Take an ID. It’s the most important piece of information to have with you.

The National Conference of State Legislatures states that Florida is one of 36 states where voters must show identification.

It must be a current and valid photo identification:

  • Florida driver’s license
  • Florida ID card issued by the Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
  • U.S. passport
  • Debit or credit card (with photo)
  • Military identification
  • Student identification
  • Retirement center identification
  • Neighborhood association ID
  • Public assistance identification
  • Veteran health identification card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • A license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm
  • Employee identification card issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the Federal Government, the state, a county, or a municipality.

Signature is required: If the picture identification does not contain the signature of the elector, an additional identification that provides the elector’s signature shall be required.

If you do not bring proper ID, you can still vote a provisional ballot. As long as you are eligible and vote in the proper precinct, your provisional ballot will count provided the signature on your provisional ballot matches the signature in your registration record.

Do I have to go to a specific polling location?

Yes. Finding your assigned polling location is simple and important to get right when you are ready to vote at the polls on Election Day. The precinct you live in determines which races will be on your ballot and where you vote. On Election Day, you must vote in the polling location that is assigned to your precinct.

If you have your Voter Information Card, it will list your precinct.

To find your precinct or polling location online, check the precinct finders below.

>Broward County precinct finder, click here.

>In Miami-Dade County, check through the voter information portal, click here.

>Monroe County precinct finder, click here.

>Palm Beach County precinct finder, click here.

I filled out my ballot but I’m not sure it’s going to get counted on time. Should I go and vote in person on Tuesday?

Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Christina White says check to see if your ballot has arrived before you go to the polls.

Check your ballot status through a link within the Division of Elections' Voter Information Lookup.

Or directly at your county Supervisor of Elections website.

>In Miami-Dade County, click here.

>In Broward County, click here.

If you still don’t see that it’s arrived or been counted, you may go in preson. Poll workers are looking at a live database, White says, so you may get to the front of the line and when that worker checks your name, they will tell you that your ballot was received and that you are not able to vote in person.

But if you don’t want to use your mail in ballot or you don’t see that it’s arrived, you can vote in person.

Don’t worry: Two votes will NOT be counted: “It’s a live database, so whichever ballot comes in first is going to essentially lock the other ballot out from being accepted," White said.

I’ve heard of voter intimidation happening at some polling places across the country. What does that mean?

Interfering with the right of a person to vote or to vote as they may choose is against the law. Federal law states that no person shall intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of that person to vote or to vote as he may choose. Voter intimidation is rare and unlikely, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. But it does happen.

The ACLU has a list of what examples of intimidation may feel or look like. Click here.

If you feel you are being intimidated, call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or The U.S. Department of Justice Voting Rights Hotline at 1-800 253-3931.

I still have my mail-in ballot. Can I take it to any polling place?

No, now there are specific locations that you can drop off your ballot from now until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

There are 4 locations in Miami-Dade County and 2 locations in Broward County.

See where they are by clicking here.

Are there precautions being taken for COVID-19 if I want to vote in person?

You must wear a mask in line and inside the polling place. They have plenty of hand sanitizer at the polling locations and you will be given a pen that is only used by you. You can take it with you when you leave, if you’d like.

The Miami Dade County Elections Department has released a health and safety fact sheet regarding in person voting amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. See the fact sheet here.

See Broward County’s fact sheet and recommendations on what voters should do to prepare for in person voting. Click here.

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.