Tampa Bay elections offices are prepping for the August primaries
Voters have until Aug. 13 to request a mail-in ballot. Early voting begins in Hillsborough County on Aug. 8 at 26 polling locations around the county.
Elections offices around the state are ramping up for the Aug. 23 primary election.
Over the last few weeks, elections supervisors in the greater Tampa Bay region have sent out more than 1.1 million mail-in ballots to voters.
Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said his office is training poll workers and testing their voting machines.
"Does it count correctly? Well, we know what the outcome should be with these test decks. And they do in fact, count correctly,” he said. “So the machines now are locked down and resealed. And they'll be put out at both early vote sites and then — as we get closer to election day — in the 270 polling sites that we will have around the county.”
More than 321,000 ballots were mailed to domestic voters in Hillsborough County last week and Latimer said he expects those ballots to start streaming in any day now.
Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley said he anticipates receiving the bulk of mail-in ballots starting next week. So far, his office has gotten a few thousand ballots back from voters.
“You blink and it’ll be Election Day,” he said. “So we're gearing up and we're getting excited. We just hope the voters come out and come utilize this thing called democracy.”
Latimer explained how voting by mail in Florida works and said the process is extremely secure.
"Only registered voters that request a vote by mail ballot will get one," Latimer said. "When you return that vote-by-mail ballot, you also have to sign the oath that's on the back of the envelope. And we physically compare each one of those signatures to signatures we have on file."
So far, Hillsborough County has received more than 200 ballots from military and overseas voters.
Below are the number of ballots mailed out by counties in the greater Tampa Bay area. You can click on your county to request a mail-in ballot:
- Hillsborough: more than 321,000
- Pinellas: 345,323
- Pasco: more than 116,000
- Manatee: about 105,000
- Sarasota: 119,712
- Polk: 114,715
The Hillsborough elections office finished training 1,844 poll workers this month. Latimer said this number is only slightly fewer than he expects to see volunteering in November’s midterm election.
He said starting Aug. 8, early voters can go to any of the 26 polling locations around Hillsborough County to cast their ballot.
“Find one that's close to you — on the way to work, on the way home, on the way to the grocery store,” Latimer said. “Whichever is going to be more convenient for you.”
Voters have until Aug. 13 to request a mail-in ballot.