Early voting across Florida will begin on Oct. 19 for the 2020 general election. In Alachua County, early voting will last until Oct. 31. (Ramsey Touchberry/WUFT News)

When, Where And How You Can Vote In These North Central Florida Counties

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Florida voters will soon have the chance to vote for president of the United States, six constitutional amendments and various local races in the coming weeks. Before you head to the polls — whether it is during the early voting period or on Election Day — read over this guide to see what you should know before you go. 

When and where can you vote? 

In the 2020 general election, you have three different voting options: by mail, early voting or heading to the polls on Election Day. Each county has its own early voting period, but they will all fall between Oct. 19 and Nov. 1. Some counties may offer more early voting dates and locations than others. Early voters can vote at any early voting site within their county, once the period of early voting starts. Election Day will be on the first Tuesday in November, which will be Nov. 3 this year. Keep reading for a county-by-county breakdown. 

Alachua

Bradford

Citrus

Columbia

  • In Columbia County, early voting will start on Oct. 22 and will end on Oct. 31. In Lake City, the house will be from 8:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. In Fort White, voting hours will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Find your early voting location here. 

Dixie

  • Dixie County will begin its early voting period on Oct. 21 and will end on Oct. 31. The polling places will be open 8 a.m.- 6 p.m, Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, Oct. 25, early voting will start at 8 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Find your early voting location here.

Gilchrist

  • Gilchrist County voters will have the option to early vote from Oct. 21 through Oct. 31 from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., daily. On Sunday, Oct. 25, early voting will be held from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Find your early voting location here. 

Hernando

Levy

  • Voters in Levy County will have from Oct. 19 until Nov. 1 to cast their ballot early. Levy’s early voting location will be open daily from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Find your early voting location here. 

Putnam

Marion

Union

  • Early voting in Union County will be held from Oct. 24 through Oct. 31. Monday through Saturday, voting hours will be from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. On Sunday, you can vote between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Find your early voting location here. 

Thinking about voting by mail? Here is what you need to know:

Are you eligible to vote by mail in Florida?

  • Yes. Florida has no requirements in order to vote by mail, other than being 18-years-old and registered to vote.

How do you request a ballot?

  • There are four different ways to request a vote by mail ballot. Registered voters can visit their supervisor of elections’ website, by writing to their supervisor of election, visiting the office in person or calling. The request must include the voter’s name, address, date of birth and signature. Any uniformed service voter or overseas voter is exempt from having an address on file.

When is the deadline to request a ballot be mailed?

  • If you want a ballot delivered to your address, the state requires you to request it by 5 p.m. ten days before the election. In Florida, that is Oct. 24 by 5 p.m. Your local supervisor of elections’ office will mail the requested ballot out within two business days after the request. The office must mail out the ballot with eight days left before the election. 

What is the deadline to return your vote by mail ballot?

  • Your ballot must be received by your local supervisor of elections officer no later than 7 p.m. on election day. Voters have the option to mail back their ballots, return them to any of the early voting locations or at the secure drop boxes located at their local supervisor of elections office. 

When can I start to drop off my vote by mail ballot?

  • You can return it by mail as soon as you fill it out (in fact, the USPS recommends that you mail it back at least one week before the election). If you plan to drop it off, you must wait until the early voting period begins in your county. You cannot drop it off to an early voting location if the location has not opened yet. 

What do you need if you want to vote in person on Election Day or during early voting?

To vote during the early voting and on Election Day, you will need to bring a valid photo ID with signature verification on it. If your ID does not have a signature on it, you may be asked to present a second form of ID. Some acceptable forms of ID include: 

  • Florida driver’s license
  • United States passport
  • Military ID
  • Student ID
  • License to carry a concealed weapon or firearm 
  • Government employee ID

To see a full list of acceptable forms of identification, click here.

You are at your polling place on Election Day, but you didn’t bring a proper photo ID. Now what?

  • You can still vote! You will be given a provisional ballot, which means that as long as you are eligible to vote and at your correct precinct, your vote will be counted. Your signature on the provisional ballot just has to match the one on your registration record. 

So you know how to vote. But what’s on the ballot?

Across Florida, registered voters will cast their vote for the next president of the United States and will vote on six different amendments to the state constitution, as well as elections local to their counties. Keep reading for a breakdown of each amendment. 

Amendment 1

  • Amendment 1 asks voters to vote “yes” or “no” on whether they think the state constitution should state that only U.S. citizens who are 18 or older can vote in school, local, state and federal elections. This would change the verbiage in the current constitution from “every U.S. citizen” to “only U.S. citizens.”

Amendment 2

  • Amendment 2 asks voters to vote on whether they want to raise minimum wage in Florida. If it receives enough votes, the minimum wage would rise to $10 per-an-hour by Sept. 30, 2021 and raise one dollar every year until 2026, making the minimum wage $15 an hour. 

Amendment 3

  • Amendment 3 would establish a top-two open primary system. This means that all candidates for office would appear on the same primary ballot, regardless of party affiliation or nomination. The two candidates who receive the most votes would progress to the general election. If only two candidates qualify to run, there will not be a primary vote. The two candidates would appear on the general election ballot. If approved, this amendment would go into effect Jan. 1, 2024. 

Amendment 4

  • Amendment 4 requires that Florida state constitutional amendments be voted on twice before taking effect. Currently, the Florida state constitution only requires amendments to pass once with 60% of the vote before going into effect. 

Amendment 5

  • Amendment 5 wants to increase the time period in which a person can transfer “Save our Home” benefits. Currently, Florida residents who move from one homesteaded property to another have two years to claim the tax benefits that come with moving, but if passed, property owners would have three years from Jan. 1 of the year they sold their homesteaded property.

Amendment 6

  • Amendment 6 would provide the spouses of veterans who passed away to continue claiming a discount on their property taxes. Currently, veterans who were honorably discharged, have been permanently disabled by combat and are 65 years or older can claim the property tax discount. If passed, the spouse must live at the property permanently and hold the title. 

Read more of WUFT’s coverage of Florida Votes 2020.

About Alyssa Feliciano

Alyssa is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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