More than 19,000 early votes had already been cast in Duval County by 3 p.m. Monday – and that’s on top of the more than 77,000 who have already voted by mail.
At last check, 96,717 ballots had been cast, meaning 14.5% of registered voters have completed the process.
Registered voters can cast ballots at any early voting location, regardless of their home precinct. All that's required to vote is a driver's license.
Voters Monday morning at the Southeast Regional Branch Library were socially distanced and wearing masks in a line that stretched well into the parking area around 10:45 a.m.
Amber Mariea was among those waiting in line.
She said she decided not to wait because she thought Election Day lines might even be longer.
“I just wanted to go ahead and kind of make sure it was counted. I don’t want any issues on Election Day,” she said, adding, “I feel like people are really – you know – into everything that’s going on right now, and this is the shortest line I expected.”
Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said Monday he’d like to see as many people as possible vote early.
“It is, to me, the easiest time to vote,” Hogan said Monday on WJCT News' First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross.
He said another big plus to early voting is it gives it gives the voters more safeguards in case they forget their identification or something else goes wrong.
"A lot of folks will come Downtown or go to their early voting site and not have their identification. On Election Day, that's horrible. You're going have to vote a provisional ballot. Early voting - you've got a chance to rectify that come back another day," Hogan said.
Provisional ballots can be rejected if signatures don’t match up perfectly, potentially forcing a voter to submit a "cure affidavit" form to have his or her vote counted. More details about provisional ballots are on this FAQ page.
Hogan said his staff saw long lines Monday at some early voting locations, as people started to line up around 5:30 a.m., ahead of their opening at 7 a.m.
The elections supervisor also pointed out that people can avoid lines by filling out mail-in ballots and dropping them off at early voting locations, where drop boxes have been set up.
Mail-in ballots are being mailed out to registered Duval voters who request. The last day to request a mail-in ballot is Saturday, Oct. 24.
Voters can also speed up their time at an early voting location by pre-filling their sample ballot, so they'll have a quick reference list in the voting booth. Sample ballots were mailed out earlier and are also available online.
Monday, Oct. 19, is the first day of early voting in Duval, Nassau, Clay and St. Johns counties.
The early, in-person voting will continue until Oct. 31 in Clay and St. Johns and through Nov. 1 in Duval and Nassau.
In Baker County, early voting will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and run through Oct. 31.
Details on when and where residents can vote early can be found on each county’s Supervisor of Elections website:
- Duval County Supervisor of Elections early voting information
- Nassau County Supervisor of Elections early voting information
- Clay County Supervisor of Elections early voting information
- St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections early voting information
- Baker County Supervisor of Elections early voting information
Election Day is on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
To hear the entire interview with Duval Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan listen to Monday’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross. The show also encores at 8 p.m. on WJCT News 89.9.