Planning to cast an early ballot to avoid lines on Election Day? Early voting for the August primary begins Saturday, but voting hours are down by a third compared to past years.
You can thank a state elections law enacted last year that reduced early voting days from 14 to eight. The law also allows local election officials to offer between six and 12 hours of voting per day. For the upcoming election, Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley will keep polls open eight hours each day, for a total of 64 hours. The old law required 96 total hours.
Early voting will be available from Saturday until Aug. 11. Polling places will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on weekends and from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on weekdays. Remember to bring a photo ID, such as a driver's license, that has your signature.
Early voting sites include:
• East Pasco Government Center, 14236 Sixth St., Dade City.
• West Pasco Government Center, 8731 Citizens Drive, Ste. 110, New Port Richey.
• Land O'Lakes Branch Library, 2818 Collier Parkway, Land O'Lakes.
• South Holiday Branch Library, 4649 Mile Stretch Drive, Holiday.
• Hudson Regional Library, 8012 Library Road, Hudson.
• New River Branch Library, 34043 State Road 54, Zephyrhills.
For high-turnout elections like the November general election, Corley said he will keep sites open for the maximum 12 hours.
Moved to Pasco recently?
The new elections law also affects voters registered in a different Florida county who have moved to Pasco. Those voters must update their address with Corley's office before going to the polls. Voters can call toll-free 1-800-851-8754 or use a form at pascovotes.com to make the change. If voters arrive at their polling places on Election Day without changing their addresses, they will be required to cast provisional ballots.
About your precinct …
This year the elections office shrank the number of precincts and polling places — a move that will save money because it will require fewer poll workers.
There's a good chance the changes don't affect you: About 85 percent of the voters kept their same voting places. But you may want to check your status.
Corley's office sent a mailing to all voters earlier this month with information on their polling place and which federal, state and local districts they live in. If you missed it, or if you want to double-check, visit pascovotes.com, go to "Precincts & Districts" and select "Precinct Finder." After entering your address, the site will show you where your precinct is and show all the sample ballots for voters in those districts.
Lee Logan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6236.