Today is the last day for early voting in Osceola County and the Supervisor of Elections is pushing important safety procedures to protect voters who still need to cast a ballot on Election Day.
At least five races will be decided during Tuesday’s August primary, including the Clerk of Courts, Kissimmee’s State House representative, tax collector and two school board seats.
Other key races like Osceola Sheriff, Kissimmee Mayor and County Commission District 1 will narrow down a large pool of political hopefuls ahead of November.
Safety Is a Top Priority at Polling Places
Hand sanitizer, masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment will be on hand at all polling sites this year, and Election workers are required to wear face masks. Voters without face coverings won’t be turned away but election officials are still encouraging people to mask up when they come to vote. Free masks will also be available to voters at the polls.
Running an election during a global pandemic isn’t easy, but the Supervisor of Elections received some additional money from the CARES Act to help pay for safety supplies and other unbudgeted coronavirus-related costs.
All 41 Osceola County Election Day polling sites feature hand sanitizing stations and socially distanced voting booths. Locations will be deep cleaned starting Sunday night to prepare for Election Day, with poll workers sanitizing machines after each voter on Tuesday.
Voters will also use a disposable Q-tip on touch screen machines instead of a stylus to reduce potential spread of the virus.
Osceola County received a record number of vote-by-mail ballots so far this year, but early voting turnout remained relatively low compared to prior primaries.
How to Avoid Long Lines on Election Day
If you plan to vote on Election Day, prepare for potentially long lines.
“Voting is like traffic — we all want to go at the same time,” said Osceola County Supervisor of Elections Mary Jane Arrington. “Lines tend to be longest the first and last hour of voting.”
On Tuesday, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., so try to go during off-hours if you can, like 10 a.m. or 2 p.m.
If you work during the day, ask your job if they give employees time off to vote. More workplaces across the country are doing this in 2020.
Pro tip: You can now check wait times at polling locations on the SOE website. Their homepage lists addresses, directions and wait times for each voting site.
“Green means go,” Arrington said. “This way you can see ahead of time how busy the location is and plan accordingly.”
H2: Other Important Voting Information
Remember: Unlike early voting, you must vote at your assigned precinct on Election Day. If you’re not sure where that is, check online or call the SOE office at 407-742-6000.
If you requested a vote-by-mail ballot but misplaced it or forgot to send it back, you can still drop it off at the SOE office anytime between now and 7 p.m. Tuesday. Otherwise, you will need to vote in person at your precinct on Election Day.
Tuesday election results start rolling in after 7 p.m. Check up-to-the-minute results on the Supervisor of Elections’ website.