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What to expect at the polls today

Little will be different despite COVID-19 pandemic and record-setting early voting

Line early Tuesday morning at a polling place in Ortega.
Line early Tuesday morning at a polling place in Ortega. (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Early voting ended over the weekend after setting records for turnout. But don’t think that means voting on Election Day will be light.

The only way to cast a ballot now is to drop off a mail-in ballot if you haven’t or, more likely, show up in person at your precinct Tuesday. And based on the turnout prediction of Duval County’s supervisor of elections, we’ll see at least 200,000 people vote in Jacksonville alone -- millions more around the state.

WHAT/WHO IS ON THE BALLOT? Read the News4Jax Voter’s Guide

Find your precinct and know what you need

Unlike early voting, Election Day voters can only vote at their precinct. It’s listed on your voter ID card, if you have. If you don’t, no worries. Enter your address from your local supervisor of elections website. Duval County voters click here to find your precinct. Other residents click here to get a link to your county’s elections office.

In order to vote at the polls, citizens must show a current and valid picture and signature identification. Find the list of acceptable forms of photo identification here.

If your photo identification does not contain your signature, you will be required to show an additional form of identification that provides your signature. If you do not provide an ID, you can cast a provisional ballot.

Understanding the risk of COVID-19 at the polls

Those who cast ballots in person on Election Day will see precautions to protect both the voters and the poll workers from coronavirus. In Duval County, poll workers are tested for COVID-19 before they come in November 3.

“All of our people are screened before they work on election day, number one. Number two, they have to wear a mask and shields or a combination of those ... we have social distancing in the line, we have social distancing in the booths, we have a full-time sanitizer in every single precinct,” Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said.

Sunday the CDC clarified its recommendations for people who have been exposed to the coronavirus, saying voters who are sick or in quarantine can vote if they take steps to protect poll workers and other voters, including wearing a mask and maintaining social distance.

Quarantine or not, voters are encouraged to wear face coverings. To provide yourself with extra protection from the virus, bring your own black pen to use on the ballot rather than the pen provided.

RELATED: Florida reports 4,865 new COVID-19 cases, 28 additional deaths

Extra poll workers will regularly sanitize and clean all contact surfaces, including voting booths. Voting booths will also be spaced for social distancing, and you will be reminded to social distance, too. You may notice additional security personnel as well.

How to get your last-minute mail-in ballot counted

If you requested a vote-by-mail ballot and haven’t returned it already, the U.S. Postal Service recommends not returning those ballots by mail since they must arrive at your county’s supervisors of elections office by Tuesday.

Secure drop boxes are available at each county’s supervisor of elections office and, during voting hours, at all early voting sites. There will also be a drive-by dropbox for Duval County ballots available at TIAA Bank Field from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Sunday.

If you mailed your ballot or used a dropbox, you can track the status of your vote by finding a link on your county’s supervisor of elections website.

If your mail-in ballot was rejected

One of the most common reasons a mail-in ballot is rejected is because of a problem with the signature. Florida law allows voters until Thursday November 5 to get it “cured,” or fix it.

If your ballot is rejected, fill out a Vote-by-Mail Cure Affidavit and a copy of your ID. You can return the form by mail, email, fax, or in-person. It must be submited by 5 p.m. Thursday or the ballot will not be counted.

Download the vote-by-mail cure affidavit here.

The one big difference we could see

When it comes to finding out the results of the Presidential election, we may not see those on Election night.

In some of the most critical battleground states, laws prevent the early processing of ballots. So on Tuesday, officials will have to run an in-person election while also working through the unprecedented number of mail-in votes.

READ MORE: Counting the vote: When will we know who won?

This dynamic is likely to delay results and heighten the potential for big shifts if in-person vote tallies that come out election night are upended by the results of mail-in ballots in the coming days.


About the Authors:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.