The primary election is quickly approaching on Aug. 23. My office encourages every registered voter to make a plan for how they are going to participate in the election.
Voting is one of the most sacred privileges we all share as Americans. Voting on Election Day is your last opportunity to vote, not your first. Make sure to consider all available options for voting and determine which one is best for you. Consider asking yourself the following questions:
• Do I want to vote early, or do I need extra time to consider the candidates before I am ready to vote?
• Who are the candidates on the ballot? Have my voting districts changed?
• How am I getting to the polls? Do I need to request a vote-by-mail ballot?
• Do I have the photo and signature ID I need with me?
• Do I know where to go to vote?
If you have any questions, please contact my office at (352) 374-5252. Remember, there is something on the ballot for everyone to vote on!
There are three ways you can cast your ballot in this year’s primary election:
Vote by mail
The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot is Aug. 13 at 5 p.m. Vote-by-mail ballots have already been mailed to registered voters who have previously requested them. Voters should make any necessary updates to their signature prior to returning their vote-by-mail ballot and should complete and return their vote-by-mail ballot well before Election Day.
We recommend mailing your ballot at least one week in advance of the deadline. All vote-by-mail ballots must be received before 7 p.m. on Election Day, Aug. 23.
You may also return your vote-by-mail ballot to a Secure Ballot Intake Station, formerly known as a vote-by-mail drop box, located at each early voting location during early voting hours. A Secure Ballot Intake Station will also be outside of the Supervisor of Elections Office from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Aug. 8 to Aug. 12 and on Aug. 21 and Aug. 22. Additionally, the Secure Ballot Intake Station will be available on Election Day, Aug. 23, at the Supervisor of Elections Office from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
If you requested a vote-by-mail ballot, but decided you would rather vote in person, make sure to bring your vote-by-mail ballot to the polls with you as you must surrender it before you can vote in person. However, if you do not bring your vote-by-mail ballot with you, you will not be turned away at the polls as you can still cast a provisional ballot.
All registered Alachua County voters are eligible to vote during early voting. This year’s early voting period for the primary election will run from Aug. 13 to Aug. 20, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Voters can vote at any of the following seven early voting locations:
• Supervisor of Elections Office: 515 N. Main Street, Gainesville, FL 32601
• Millhopper Branch Library: 3145 NW 43rd St, Gainesville, FL 32606
• Tower Road Branch Library: 3020 SW 75th St, Gainesville, FL 32608
• J. Wayne Reitz Union: 655 Reitz Union Drive, UF Campus, Gainesville, FL 32611
• Orange Heights Baptist Church: 16700 FL-26, Hawthorne, FL 32640
• Legacy Park Multipurpose Center: 15400 Peggy Rd, Alachua, FL 32615
• Alachua County Agriculture and Equestrian Center: 23100 W Newberry Rd, Newberry, FL 32669.
The Alachua County Agriculture and Equestrian Center is new this year!
In person, on Election Day
Voters must vote at their assigned polling location on Election Day. Due to redistricting and reprecincting, your assigned precinct and voting districts may have changed which could impact who your representatives are. To see if anything has changed, check your new voter information card, go online to VoteAlachua.gov and click “My Registration Status”, or call our office at (352) 374-5252.
Though the deadline to register to vote and change your party has passed for this election, we still advise all voters to make any necessary updates to their address prior to Election Day. On Election Day, make sure you bring your valid photo and signature ID with you! To see the list of acceptable ID, visit VoteAlachua.gov.
My office looks forward to serving you this election season!
Kim A. Barton is Alachua County supervisor of elections.
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This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Kim Barton: Make plan to vote in upcoming election in Alachua County