Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough County to get a jump on early voting

Cecil Brackett assembles a voting booth on Thursday at Temple Terrace Public Library. Early voting begins Monday for Hillsborough County residents. It continues for two weeks after that, up to the Saturday before the Jan. 31 primary date. 

TYLER TJOMSLAND | Times

Cecil Brackett assembles a voting booth on Thursday at Temple Terrace Public Library. Early voting begins Monday for Hillsborough County residents. It continues for two weeks after that, up to the Saturday before the Jan. 31 primary date. 

TAMPA — Hillsborough County voters can get a jump on most others in Florida in casting ballots for the Republican presidential primary, beyond the traditional absentee ballot approach.

Early voting begins Monday. It continues for two weeks after that, up to the Saturday before the Jan. 31 primary date.

Election-law changes approved last year by the Legislature cut the number of days for early voting while allowing extended hours on the days that early voting does take place. However, Hillsborough is one of five Florida counties under U.S. Department of Justice supervision. That requires federal approval of changes to how elections are conducted to ensure they don't infringe on minority voting rights.

So Hillsborough — along with Collier, Hardee, Hendry and Monroe counties — is operating under the old rules, for now. Early voting in Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties won't start until Jan. 21.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has expressed concern that changes to elections laws in several states, including Florida, may hinder voters' ability to register and cast ballots. So outgoing Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning has asked a three-judge panel in Washington, D.C., to review Florida's election-law changes, but that won't happen until after the primary.

"That's the reason we're voting early and Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee and Polk counties around us are not able to vote early yet" other than through absentee ballots, said Earl Lennard, Hillsborough County supervisor of elections.

The Justice Department already has blessed some aspects of Florida's elections changes, but there are components to address: Reducing the number of early voting days from up to 14 to eight while still allowing up to 96 hours total of early voting; requiring third-party groups that collect registration forms to submit them within 48 hours or face fines; reducing the expiration date of petition signatures on voter initiatives from four years to two; and requiring voters who try to change their address on election day, if they've moved from one county to another, to submit a provisional ballot.

Hillsborough voters can still change their addresses on election day and cast a regular ballot.

Only Republicans can vote in this month's presidential race.

There is one important exception. Temple Terrace is holding a referendum on whether the city should be allowed to waive certain taxes for new and expanding business. All voters, Democrats, Republicans and others, can vote on that issue.

For information about ballots and voting locations, go the Hillsborough supervisor of elections website at votehillsborough.org.

Hillsborough County to get a jump on early voting 01/12/12 [Last modified: Thursday, January 12, 2012 11:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics

    Elections

    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.