Last month, in our mission to help voting be easier than building IKEA furniture, we asked for your help build a better a voter guide by letting us know what questions you had about the Nov. 6 election and the candidates.
Today we’re here with some answers to your questions on how to vote. Shout out to Roshan Nebhrajani, Marika Lynch, Bob Bonham, Peter Bransden, Cami, and others who shared questions anonymously (Some readers chose not to share their full names). We’re also including some relevant questions from our August local and primary guide.
Look out for our full voter guide as early voting opens. We’ll be diving into the governor’s race, the U.S. Senate race, some U.S. congressional races, other state cabinet positions and breaking down the amendments and referenda you’ll see on your ballot.
And FYI, you’ve only got another week or so to register to vote. Keep reading below for how to do that. And now, let us help you #votelikeyoulivehere.
How voting works
Would the governor win the same way a U.S. president wins? Like do they win each county or is it sheer numbers? Can you win the popular vote but not win overall? (Peter)
No, the governor’s race is decided by sheer numbers. Whoever gets the most votes statewide wins, period. There’s no system like the electoral college in Florida.
Why do we have to vote on teacher raises? Why can’t the school district raise salaries itself?
The school board could raise teacher salaries on its own if it had enough money to do so in their current budget. But school board officials argue that reduced state funding and a need to bolster security has left them with no option for funding raises other than to raise taxes, and tax increases have to be approved by voters. The Broward County school board went through a similar process in August and it was approved by voters.
How to register
How do we find where we can vote? Can’t find my assigned location online.
You can find that info on the county’s website here under Voter Information. Fill in some basic info and you’ll find your district and a sample ballot for your district. That page should also include the location of your polling place on election day.
How do I know if I’m registered to vote? Where do I register and what is needed?
You can check your registration status and register online by heading to the county website. All you need is your driver’s license or state ID info, and the last four digits of your Social Security number.
Reasons to update your registration:
- You’ve moved into a new place.
- You want to change your party affiliation (but you don’t need to be registered with a party to vote in the general election).
- Your legal name has changed
The deadline to get that stuff done is Tuesday, Oct. 9.
How mail-in ballots and early voting work
How do I vote absentee?
If you request an absentee/mail-in but don’t use it, can you vote in person on election day?
Yes. If you request one but don’t use it, you can still vote at the polls. But you have to bring your mail-in ballot with you to the polling station, where they will destroy it to prevent you from voting twice. If you don’t bring it, they’ll make you go get it – they can see in the system that you received an absentee ballot.
Will my sample ballot be different than the one shown on the county site?
It will be different since the county site shows all the possible races that could be on the ballot across the county and the state. Your ballot will be specific to the city or part of the county where you’re registered to vote.
Why did I not get any sample ballots in the mail before the election?
They’re on their way soon and you’ll have them before early voting starts (more on those dates below). Miami-Dade Elections will mail them out to registered voters the week of Oct. 15 and before then you can find the ballots in county hall, most city halls, public libraries, early voting sites, and senior centers. And you can check the ballot out online here.
Can a Broward- registered voter vote at an early site in Miami-Dade? I know early voting isn’t precinct location specific, – but does that cross county lines?
Nah, you can’t vote early in a different county than the one where you’re registered. State law says that it’s not allowed. But if you’re registered in Miami-Dade, you can vote at any early voting site in the county. Early voting is still open to anyone who shows up at an early voting polling site and is a registered Miami-Dade County voter.