MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Election Day was unusually smooth as voters headed to the polls across Miami Dade County, likely due to what’s been a record breaking turnout. Elections officials say over one million people voted early.
In Hialeah, the first voters walked in and out in about 5 minutes at The Salvation Army.
More than a million Miami-Dade voters had already cast their ballot via mail-in ballot or early voting when the poll in Hialeah opened, according to the deputy supervisor at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban Bovo was there with his family.
“With the amount of people that have already voted, I don’t expect long lines,” said Bovo, who is running for Miami-Dade County mayor against Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava.
By lunchtime, there was loud music playing in the parking lot as voters waited in line outside of the North Dade Regional Library, 2455 NW 183 St., in Miami Gardens.
Not everything was festive and easygoing at the polls though Tuesday, as Deputy Supervisor of Elections Suzy Trutie confirmed in an email that police were called to the Robert King High precinct after a poll watcher for Renier Diaz de la Portilla, who is running for election to the Miami-Dade County Commission to represent District 5, got into a physical altercation with an elections staffer, allegedly shoving her.
Nova Southeastern University political science professor Charles Zelden predicted a strong in-person turnout Tuesday, but it was definitely a faster experience for many voters this Election Day given that more than a million Miami-Dade County voters have already cast their votes during early voting.
“We aren’t going to see the multi-hour lines that we normally would have expected in a popular election because we sort of bled off those numbers in the early voting,” Zelden said.
In Florida’s most populous county, close to 170,000 vote-by-mail ballots have not been returned.
Of those, about 46,000 are Republican ballots and more than 70,000 are Democrats. Close to 50,000 are non-party affiliated.
In 2016, voters in Miami-Dade County overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton.
She won the county with 66 percent of votes.
This time in early voting, Democrats in Miami-Dade lead by a little more than 100,000 votes, but more than 277,000 Independents voted early.
There’s no telling at this point which way they voted and what party will turn out more people for in-person voting.
“Miraculously, more than a million votes will be displayed to the public at around 7:15 tonight, so that will be all of the vote-by-mail ballots that we’ve gotten through Monday, as well as all the early voting votes,” Miami-Dade Elections Supervisor Christina White said.
Officials are asking voters to review this customized sample ballot, use this database to find their assigned voting location, and bring a valid and current photo identification that displays the voter’s signature. A voter information card can help expedite the check-in process.
Voters without identification will have to use a provisional ballot. The list of identifications that are acceptable includes the Florida driver’s license, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles identification card, a United States passport, a debit or credit card, military identification, and student identification.
Florida law does not allow voters to turn in their vote-by-mail ballot at their assigned precinct on Election Day. Instead, there are four designated locations to drop them off no later than 7 p.m.
Here is the list of locations:
- Miami-Dade Elections Department, 2700 NW 87th Ave., Miami, FL 33172
- Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW 1st St., Outside East Entrance, Miami, FL 33128
- North Dade Regional Library, 2455 NW 183rd St., Miami Gardens FL 33056
- South Dade Regional Library, 10750 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay, FL 33189