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Guest column | Brian Corley

Prepared voters will help Election Day go smoothly

I am confident our due diligence in preparing for the Nov. 6 general election will go far in insuring a successful election for the citizens of Pasco County. Toward that end, I strongly urge voters to do some preparation of their own to insure a trouble-free voting experience.

Voters should make sure their registration is up-to-date and in good standing now and not wait until Election Day. If you have not voted since the last presidential election, please know that many delays and voter registration issues at the polls are easily remedied in advance with one phone call to the elections' office or a visit to our website at pascovotes.com.

One thing all voters must do prior to Nov. 6, is familiarize themselves with the ballot. For the first time, Pasco County voters will be issued a two-page ballot which will contain 11 proposed amendments to the state Constitution as well as the Penny for Pasco referendum. The amendments are quite lengthy to read and will require careful consideration. Because of this, I think it is reasonable to expect delays and lines at the polls.

There are several things voters can do to minimize potential delays:

• Research the amendments. Although my office is ministerial in nature and it is essential that it remain nonpartisan, there is a link to the Collins Center, collinscenter.org/, from our website which offers an objective interpretation of the amendments. The Collins Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that does an outstanding job of providing information on the amendments.

• Consider a vote-by-mail ballot, which is available to all registered voters. If you are unable to stand for long periods of time, or are under time constraints from work or school then consider voting by mail. Vote-by-mail ballots allow voters to vote in their own time at their convenience, and are easily requested through pascovotes.com or by calling toll-free 1-800-851-8754.

• Voters planning to vote at the polls or at an early-voting site should mark their sample ballots and bring them to the polling place. Doing homework and marking your sample ballot will save time at the polls as you simply transcribe your choices to your official Election Day ballot.

Sample ballots will be mailed approximately 30 days prior to the election to all registered voters who don't have a vote-by-mail ballot request on file. They are mailed to the addresses we have on file and are not forwarded by the U.S. Postal Service. That is another good reason to check registration status and make sure your address is current. Sample ballots will also be available on our website.

• When voting early or at the polls please remember to bring a photo and signature identification to the polls, or you will be required to vote a provisional ballot. A list of acceptable forms of ID is available on our website as well as early voting locations, hours and wait times.

Early voting begins Oct. 27 for eight consecutive days and ends Nov. 3. The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot is Oct. 31. On Election Day, polling places will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

With plenty of advanced notice, proper preparation and three available voting options, there should be no reason to forgo one of the greatest freedoms afforded to all Americans.

Brian Corley is Pasco County's supervisor of elections.

Prepared voters will help Election Day go smoothly 09/13/12 [Last modified: Thursday, September 13, 2012 9:15pm]

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