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Florida primary: Tampa Bay voters to cast ballots Tuesday amid pandemic

Elections Local

PINELLAS CO., Fla. (WFLA) – Tuesday is Florida’s primary election day and your last chance to cast a ballot in the primaries. There’s a lot to know before you head out the door to vote, and News Channel 8 is your election headquarters.

The first thing you need to know is that unlike early voting where you could go to any location in your county and vote, you now have to go to the precinct assigned to you.

Second, you have to bring one or two forms of identification that include your signature and photo.

Pinellas County says they are already seeing record numbers of people voting this election year. More than 160,000 people have voted by mail. Only 3,500 cast a ballot in early voting.

In Hillsborough County more than 143,000 people have sent in their ballots by mail. Those voting in the early election locations totaled 27,000.

With those numbers election officials are not expecting primary election day to be too busy. What we see this year could be what we see more of in future elections.

“If it were up to election administrators of course mail ballots are the future of voting, because the research and the data is clear. If you put a ballot in someone’s hand they’re far more likely to vote that ballot, and that’s what we want right? We want everyone who’s eligible to vote to be participating the in electoral process,” said Dustin Chase, Deputy Supervisor of Elections.

Mail-in ballots have to be in the hands of election officials by 7 pm on primary election day. Those who still have their mail in ballots can cast those in boxes at supervisor of elections offices.

This is a special year when it comes to voting in the middle of the coronavirus crisis.There are things voters will see differently at polling places.

Election officials are doing what they can to practice CDC and local safety guidelines at voting sites across Bay Area counties. Privacy booths are set up six feet apart from each other. People waiting in line will be asked to maintain that distance as well. There is plexi-glass separating poll workers and voters. Stylists used to sign the screens will either be kept by voters after they’re used or replaced by disposable options.

Election officials say polling locations will be wiped down and sanitized often and voters and workers will be required to wear masks.

“We’re trying to plan to have a safe and healthy environment for those that want to come out and vote in person, and that is safe and healthy for the voter and our poll workers. That’s our biggest thing,” said Craig Latimer, Supervisor of Elections for Hillsborough County.

You can check the results for each county once they become available on WFLA.com.

Election results for Hillsborough County

Election results for Polk County

Election results for Manatee County

Election results for Hardee County

Election results for Highlands County

Election results for Citrus County

Election results for Hernando County

Election results for Pasco County

Election results for Pinellas County

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