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Early voting continues through Aug. 24
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Pinellas County residents can continue to take advantage of early voting through Aug. 24.

Early voting began Saturday, Aug. 16, at all three county Elections offices. When the offices closed Sunday afternoon, 257 had cast an early ballot - 173 on Saturday and 84 on Sunday.

Early voting locations include Election Service Center, 13001 Starkey Road., Largo (Starkey Lakes Corporate Center); Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Room 117, Clearwater (first floor, north side); and County Building, 501 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg (entrance on Fifth Street).

The offices will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Voters can check early voting wait times at www.v­otepi­nella­ Color codes represent wait times at each early voting location as follows: Green indicates a wait time less than 20 minutes; yellow, 20 to 40 minutes; and red, more than 40 minutes. A spot check of wait times over the weekend showed wait times of less of 20 minutes.

Mail ballots

As of Aug. 17, the Supervisor of Elections Office had distributed 250,341 mail ballots and 28.47 percent had been returned. According to statistics from the Elections Office, there are 618,860 registered voters in Pinellas.

The two major political parties remain tied with 42 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Democrats returning ballots. The remaining ballots came from those registered as something other than one of the two major political parties. There are 219,747 registered Republicans in Pinellas, 224,018 Democrats and 175,093 other.

Mail ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. Election Day, Aug. 26. Per state law, mail ballots cannot be returned to a polling location. They can be returned by mail or they can be dropped off at any Elections Office.

The last day to request that a ballot be mailed is Wednesday, Aug. 20. Requests can be made online at www.v­otepi­nella­ or call 464-VOTE (8683) by 5 p.m.

Remote drop-off locations are available throughout the county, including five Tax Collector Offices - open weekdays, August 11-25: 743 Pinellas Ave. S., Tarpon Springs; 29399 U.S. Hwy. 19 N. (near Curlew); Clearwater; 1663 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater; 1800 66th St. N., St. Petersburg; and 1067 62nd Ave. S., St. Petersburg.

Five public libraries are accepting ballots, on weekdays and Saturdays, August 11-25, including libraries at 4125 East Lake Road., Palm Harbor; 400 St. Petersburg Drive E., Oldsmar; 9200 113th St. N., Seminole; 7770 52nd St., Pinellas Park; and 1059 18th Ave. S., St. Petersburg.

Ballots also can be dropped off at Centre of Palm Harbor, 1500 16th St., Palm Harbor, which is open weekdays and Saturdays, and Gulfport Neighborhood Center, 1617 49th St. S., Gulfport, which is open weekdays.

Drop-off locations will not be open on Election Day. Mail ballots cannot be returned to polling locations.

Ballots may also be picked up at an Elections Office. Mail ballot pickup and voting in Elections Offices on Election Day is only permitted in the case of an emergency. State law requires that a voter or voter’s designee sign an affidavit affirming that the voter is unable to go to his/her polling place on Election Day due to an emergency and provide the reason for the emergency. This affidavit and the information provided becomes a public record.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To find out your precinct, visit www.v­otepi­nella­

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