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Election Day draws near: Early voting ends Monday, Nov. 1
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PINELLAS COUNTY - As of 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25, 28,270 county residents had taken advantage of early voting, according to Pat Brady with the Pinellas County Supervisor of Election's Office.

Brady said officials were thrilled with the good turnout and that no problems had been reported, except some "hit and miss" times where voters have encountered long lines.

"The lines have been long sometimes," she said. "But, this is a large turnout."

Early voting began Oct. 18 and continues through Nov. 1.

Absentee ballots

Early voting is not the only way that people can cast their ballots. Some residents have been taking advantage of absentee ballots, which according to Brady, can be requested all the way up to Election Day. However, she said, it is the voter's responsibility to make sure that the ballots are returned to the election office no later than 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2. Ballots received after 7 p.m. Nov. 2 will not be counted.

The cut off to request a ballot by mail is Saturday, Oct. 30. All mail-in requests for absentee ballots will be honored, but ballots requested to be sent out-of-state might not arrive in time to allow voters to meet the return deadline of 7 p.m. Nov. 2. Absentee ballots also can be picked up on Election Day up until 3 p.m., but they must be returned by 7 p.m. Absentee ballot requests from overseas can be e-mailed and ballots faxed back no later than 7 p.m. Nov. 2. For more information on absentee ballots, click here

Election Day

Voters who don't take advantage of early voting or using absentee ballots will make the traditional trip to the polls, starting at 7 a.m. Election Day polling places will remain open until 7 p.m.

Pinellas County has 590,989 registered votes: 223,544 are registered as Democrats; 231,652 as Republicans; and 135,793 as other.

Voters are assigned polling places within their precincts. Precincts can be found on the voter registration cards. Look for the number under precinct in the top right corner. For a list of precincts and voting places, click here.

Registered voters are urged to take part in the 2004 general election. Many important leadership positions will be decided, including the next President of the United States.

For a list and additional information on the races and questions on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Deborah Clark, supervisor of elections, has some tips for voters.

• Update voter registration records now to avoid delays at the polls. Call 464-3551 or visit www.votepinellas.com/content.aspx?id=17

• Remember to take a picture and signature ID to the polls or voters can complete an affidavit

• Mark a copy of the sample ballot beforehand and take it to the polls. A copy of the sample ballot can be found on the Supervisor of Election's Web site's front page at www.votepinellas.com.

Voter's Bill of Rights

Each registered voter in this state has the right to:

1. Vote and have his or her vote accurately counted.

2. Cast a vote if he or she is in line at the official closing of the polls in that county.

3. Ask for and receive assistance in voting.

4. Receive up to two replacement ballots if he or she makes a mistake prior to the ballot being cast.

5. An explanation if his or her registration is in question.

6. If his or her registration is in question, cast a provisional ballot.

7. Prove his or her identity by signing an affidavit if election officials doubt the voter's identity.

8. Written instructions to use when voting, and, upon request, oral instructions in voting from elections officers.

9. Vote free from coercion or intimidation by elections officers or any other person.

10. Vote on a voting system that is in working condition and that will allow votes to be accurately cast.

Voter's Responsibilities

Each registered voter in this state should:

1. Familiarize himself or herself with the candidates and issues.

2. Maintain with the office of the supervisor of elections a current address.

3. Know the location of his or her polling place and its hours of operation.

4. Bring proper identification to the polling station.

5. Familiarize himself or herself with the operation of the voting equipment in his or her precinct.

6. Treat precinct workers with courtesy.

7. Respect the privacy of others.

8. Report any problems or violations of election laws to the supervisor of elections.

9. Ask questions if needed.

10. Make sure that his or her completed ballot is correct before leaving the polling station.

NOTE TO VOTER: Failure to perform any of these responsibilities does not prohibit a voter from voting.
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