Don't wait to vote in the Nov. 8 election

Ron Turner
Ron Turner

On Nov. 8, Americans across the United States will elect federal, state and local officials in what are known as the midterm elections, or the halfway mark between presidential elections. In Sarasota County, the general election ballot will contain more than 45 contests and questions for some voters.

All county voters will see federal, state and county contests, as well as three Florida constitutional amendments and four county questions. Additionally, the cities of North Port, Sarasota and Venice have their own respective candidates and questions on the ballot. Regardless of where you reside in the county, it will be a long ballot. Be sure to allow sufficient time to research the races and questions, and don’t wait until the last minute to cast your ballot. Election Day is now less than a week away.

For starters, remember that you have options when voting. Florida offers three ways to vote: by mail (absentee), in person during early voting and at your assigned polling location on Election Day.

Vote-by-mail (absentee)

If you have a vote-by-mail ballot, please return it promptly.

Remember, you cannot return your voted vote-by-mail ballot to a polling location on Election Day.

However, you can return your voted ballot at a secure ballot intake station located inside all Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections offices during business hours – Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.– and at any one of nine early voting locations during the dates and times listed below. Vote-by-mail ballots must be received by the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections office by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted. 

Early voting

There is no need to wait until election day to vote in person. Early voting is very similar to voting at the polls on Election Day, but the difference is that it allows you to choose the date, time and location that is convenient for you. As a registered voter, you may cast an in-person ballot at any early voting site in the county.

In-person early voting began Monday, Oct. 24. It will continue daily through Sunday, Nov. 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at these nine sites countywide:

  • Sarasota Elections Office, Terrace Building, 2001 Adams Lane, Sarasota.

  • Venice Elections Office, R.L. Anderson Admin Center, 4000 S Tamiami Trail, Room 114, Venice.

  • North Port Elections Office, Biscayne Plaza, 13640 Tamiami Trail, North Port.

  • North Sarasota Public Library, 2801 Newtown Blvd., Sarasota.

  • Fruitville Public Library, 100 Apex Rd., Sarasota.

  • The Devyn Event Center, 7113 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (replaces Sarasota Square Mall).

  • Bee Ridge Park, 4430 S Lockwood Ridge Rd., Sarasota.

  • Venice Public Library, 300 Nokomis Ave S, Venice.

  • Shannon Staub Public Library/Suncoast Technical College, 4675 Career Lane, North Port.

Election Day voting

On Election Day – Tuesday Nov. 8. – polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If you choose to vote on Election Day, remember that you must vote at your assigned polling location. This information is listed on your voter information card; it can also be found using the "Find My Precinct" quick link on our website at www.SarasotaVotes.gov.

Don’t Wait

All signs point to a high voter turnout for the Nov. 8 general election. I strongly urge voters to mark their choices on their sample ballots ahead of time and use them as a reference when going to vote. Make your plan and don’t wait until the last minute to cast your ballot.

Our team is standing ready to answer any questions you may have about voting in Sarasota County. We’re here to help and only a phone call away at 941-861-8618. You may also visit SarasotaVotes.gov for more detailed information about vote-by-mail, early voting or Election Day voting.

Ron Turner is the Sarasota County supervisor of elections.

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Sarasota County voters have lots of voting options for Nov. 8 election