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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, five others offer 14 early voting days

A campaign worker reminds voters about the Aug. 30 primary.

Steve Bousquet - Times

A campaign worker reminds voters about the Aug. 30 primary.



Hillsborough and Miami-Dade are among seven Florida counties that will offer the maximum 14 days of early voting in the run-up to Florida's statewide primary on Aug. 30.

Those two counties will open early voting centers next Monday morning, Aug. 15, and keep them open through Sunday, Aug. 28, the optional 14th and final day of early voting that's known as "souls to the polls." The other five counties offering 14 days of early voting are Bradford, Charlotte, Duval, Orange and Palm Beach.

A change to state election law three years ago reversed a previous law that reduced early voting in Florida. The 2013 law expanded early voting days and hours and locations and gave flexibility to county election supervisors to expand or shrink early voting depending on the anticipated turnout. The minimum amount of early voting that any county can provide is eight days and eight hours each day. The maximum is 14 days and 12 hours a day, and one county — Charlotte — is offering the maximum number of early voting hours.

"Local flexibility is a good thing," said Clay County Supervisor of Elections Chris Chambless, president of a statewide supervisors' group. A number of supervisors say that voting by mail continues to grow as a preferred way of voting in Florida and that more than half of all primary ballots will have been cast by the time precinct voting begins at 7 a.m. on Election Day, Aug. 30.

Pinellas and Broward counties will begin early voting on Saturday, Aug. 20, and both counties will offer it through Aug. 28. The complete early voting schedule by county, dates and locations is on the state Division of Elections website.

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 9, 2016 10:16am]


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