Nearly a third of Floridians cast their ballot early – before Election Day, at an early voting location rather than their assigned precinct voting site. Access to early voting varies dramatically by county.
Supervisors of Election also get to choose how many early voting locations will be offered and where they will be in the county.
Each supervisor of election decides what early voting will look like in their county. Florida law requires a minimum of 8 hours a day for 8 days, but county Supervisors of Elections can offer it for up to 14 days and some offer up to 12 hours per day. Longer hours and more days give voters more opportunities to cast their ballot while juggling their other responsibilities.
Supervisors of Election also get to choose how many early voting locations will be offered and where they will be in the county. There are state limits here too: they have to have at least as many locations as there were in the 2012 General Election, early voting has to be offered at their office, and they have to use one of a list of specified location types, mostly public buildings. They each get one ‘wildcard’ location as well, in case a public building is not available. A restricted number of locations can lead to longer waits and travel times. Fewer locations also make choosing locations that are equally accessible by all of the county’s voters more important – and more difficult.