Where you vote and how many people are assigned to your polling location has a great impact on how easy it is for you to vote.

While Florida law sets some limits and requirements, supervisors of election ultimately decide where voting happens and have great influence on how many precincts a county has. Research has shown that voters are less likely to vote the further they must travel to their polling place, with estimates of 2%-5% reductions in turnout for every quarter mile increase. Factoring in other costs results in even higher rates of voter suppression.

Reducing the number of polling locations likewise has been shown to reduce turnout, with one study finding a consolidation resulted in a 3% reduction. What sort of location is used for voting also matters. Voting in churches has been shown to influence voter choice on same-sex marriage, anti-abortion and other referenda on social issues, while voting in schools seems to be related to increased support for school funding measures.

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    1. Recommendations

    Q.Recommendations
    A.
    • Balance the number of eligible voters in each precinct to be equitable.
    • Make sure there is an equitable number of voting machines and booths in each polling place.

    • Make sure any decision to move or close a polling place is done transparently, with public notice and invitation for public comment.
    • Prioritize the use of sites authorized for early voting.
    • Choose centrally located polling places.
    • Choose polling places that are easy to find and get in and out of quickly.
    • Review wait times to identify overburdened or under-resourced precinct and polling locations.
    • Replace polling places that require passing through gates and/or heightened security protocols not expected with voting.
    • Prohibit polling places from posting propaganda near the voting area.

    2. Lessons from 2018 General Election

    Q.Lessons from 2018 General Election
    A.
    • Most polling locations were in private buildings.
    • 40% of registered voters were assigned to vote in religious buildings. Voting in churches has been shown to influence how people vote on social issues.
    • The average precinct in the 2018 General Election had 2,258 registered voters, with an average of 500 votes cast.
    • Average precinct size varied widely in each county. Multiple precincts can be assigned to each polling location.
    • Statewide, the impact of precinct size on turnout was negligible, but it did seem to have a significant impact in some larger counties.

    3. Resources