BSO City of Oakland Park Community Elections Oakland Park Politics

Early Voting During COVID-19: Options, Tips, Homework & Plans

Since nothing in 2020 has been normal, why should voting be any different? Regardless of where you stand on politics, this election will undoubtedly be one of the most important and contested elections in recent history. How do we know? Early voting numbers are up more than 500% compared to this point last year and that’s with many states – like Florida – just beginning. Voting is important and something everyone should take part in. However, because of the added challenges and importance of this year, you need to have a plan in place to ensure that you are able to vote.

Early Voting Options For Oakland Park Residents

Mail-in-ballots need to be requested, not sent in, before October 23rd. If you’ve missed the deadline you still have the ability to vote in person. Locally, residents can vote in a variety of places and do not necessarily have to vote in Oakland Park. You will need to have your driver’s license with you or a photo ID with your signature on it.

Voting During Covid

If you are voting in person you need to be prepared for long lines, especially due to the Coronavirus. Social distancing and fewer booths will extend the wait times and that needs to be factored in when you make your plans. Polling centers may offer information regarding projected wait times on their social media or websites, otherwise, budget at least 2 hours to be safe. Masks will be required and it’s a good idea to also have hand sanitizer and anything else that will allow you to feel comfortable and safe as you wait in line. In the interest of avoiding conflict, it’s recommended, and required in some areas, that no political-motivated apparel be worn.

Doing Your Homework on the Smaller Stuff

Florida is one of the few states that does not have a race for the Senate or the Governor’s seat. However, voters will be selecting new members of congress, local political officials and several constitutional amendments. Broward Sheriff will also be on the ballot in a very contested race between Gregory Tony and H. Wayne Clark.

Amendments on the ballot include:

  • Amendment 1: Changing the wording for the Florida Constitution to state “only a citizen” of the United States may vote rather than “every citizen.”
  • Amendment 2: Raising the hourly minimum wage to $15 by 2026. The current minimum wage for Florida is $8.46.
  • Amendment 3: Implementing a top-two open primary system for the state’s offices primary elections.
  • Amendment 4: Requirement that all voter-approved constitutional amendments must be approved by voters at a second general election.
  • Amendment 5: Extends the period to transfer “Save Our Homes” benefits to a new homestead property from 2 years to 3 years.
  • Amendment 6: Will allow homestead property tax discounts to be transferred to the spouse of a deceased veteran.
Early voting at Wilton Manor’s Womens Club. In the early morning there were no lines, but by 10am the line was out the door. | Photo credit: Desiree Avila

Finding Reliable Information

Developing a strong game plan on how and when to vote is important as is taking the time to do your homework and research what’s covered on the ballot. Facebook and Google have been on a mission to create reliable sources of information that voters can utilize anytime including locations, policies, options and how to cast your vote if you are doing it by mail.

If you have questions about how to vote in the Oakland Park, Florida area, feel free to refer to Broward County Supervisor of Elections’ site on where to go and what options are available. Don’t wait until November 3rd, unless you’re willing to spend the majority of day in line. This year may see a record number of voters and you do not want to be left out just because you waited until the last minute. Make a plan, get out and go vote early!

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