1. Early voting starts Saturday and runs through Aug. 24. Voters can go to any of three early voting sites, regardless of where they live. Those sites are the County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Room 117, in Clearwater; Election Service Center, 13001 Starkey Road in the Starkey Lakes Corporate Center in Largo; and the County Building at 501 First Ave N. in downtown St. Petersburg. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Voters are required to present both picture and signature identification. Voters who don't will be given a provisional ballot.
2. Mail ballots: More than 52,000 people already have cast their vote in this election by mail. For those keeping score, Republicans have a slight edge. As of Aug. 11, Republicans have returned 21,921, compared with Democrats who returned 21,768. Voters with minor parties or no party affiliation accounted for 8,713. Mail ballot results will be announced after the polls close on Aug. 26. To request a mail ballot, call the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Office at (727) 464-8683. You can drop off your mail ballot at several locations; for a list of locations and hours, go to votepinellas.com. They'll even give you an "I voted" sticker there.
3. Elections aren't cheap: Since 2008, the average cost to conduct a countywide primary is $1.3 million. The elections supervisor also reports that 1,944 people will be working Aug. 26. This includes poll workers and regular full- and part-time employees, plus any temporary hires.
4. Polling place changes: There were 18 polling place changes since the last election. To check your precinct, go to votepinellas.com and click on the "Find my precinct" tab at the top. The site will also allow you to check to make sure your personal information, such as your address, name and signature, is correct. You can also make sure your ballot was received, or view a sample one.
5. Not registered to vote? It's too late for the Aug. 26 primary or to change your party affiliation, but there's still time to make your vote count in the Nov. 4 general election. That deadline is Oct. 6.