LARGO – With less than three weeks left before the Nov. 6 general elections, Pinellas County’s Elections offices are gearing up for a busy time.
Extended hours continue through Election Day, with offices remaining open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Sunday, through Oct. 26. Starting Oct. 27, the offices will remain open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week through Nov. 3. The hours for Sunday and Monday, Nov. 4-5, are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Offices will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6 – Election Day.
The Elections Call Center will be open until 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. During all office hours, voters may pick up mail ballots, vote in the office, update their voter file and check their ballot status.
Supervisor of Elections Office locations:
• 13001 Starkey Road (Starkey Lakes Corporate Center), Largo
• 501 1st Ave. N. (5th Street entrance), St. Petersburg
Statewide, early voting is currently held the 10th day through the third day prior to any federal, state or county election. Times vary among counties, but must be no less than 6 hours and no more than 12 hours per day.
Registered Pinellas County voters can cast an early ballot on any day from Oct. 27 through Nov. 3, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at any of the three Supervisor of Elections offices.
Voters must present both picture and signature identification. Voters who do not bring both types of ID will be required to vote a provisional ballot. Voters who have moved from another county must update address before going to the polls in to vote a regular ballot.
The last day to request a mail ballot is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31. Residents can still pick up mail ballots at any Supervisor of Elections Office through Nov. 6. Mail ballots must be received at an Elections Office by 7 p.m. Election Day to be counted. Ballots also can be turned in at any of the 14 secure drop-off locations throughout the county. A list of locations is included in the mail ballot packet.
To request a mail ballot or to find out if a returned mailed ballot was received, call 464-VOTE (464-8683) or visit www.votepinellas.com. Mail ballot requests are good for two general election cycles. A ballot will be mailed the next business day following the request.
According to information at the Elections Office website, mail ballots have gained in popularity among Pinellas County residents since the practice was approved by the state in 2004. Requests increased more than 400 percent from the 2008 presidential preference primary to the 2008 November general election. During the August 2010 primary election, 59 percent of county residents cast a mail ballot compared to 39 percent at polling places on Election Day. Only 2 percent voted early. In the 2010 general election, 51 percent voted by mail and 46 percent cast a ballot at a polling place. Only 3 percent took advantage of early voting.
As of Oct. 13, 44,152, or 16 percent, of the 275,109 mail ballots sent out had been returned. The Elections Office was reporting that 17,792 of 111,710 Republican ballots mailed had been returned and 18,034 or the 103,311 Democrat ballots. Another 8,326 had been returned of the 60,088 sent out to those registered as other than Democrat or Republican.
The latest figures posted at www.votepinellas.com show that 622,843 residents are registered to vote Nov. 6, including 225,339 Republicans, 231,747 Democrats and 165,757 registered as other.
The general election ballot is four pages long on two ballot cards and includes 11 proposed state constitutional amendments and a Pinellas School District referendum. Residents should remember to vote both sides of the ballot cards.