COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- Early voting for the midterm elections is underway in states across the country.
So far, more than a million Floridians have voted either in person or by mail. People in Collier County can start early voting on Thursday, Oct. 25 at listed voting locations and times.
Early voting in Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, and DeSoto counties started earlier this week.
Before voters head to the polls, they should be prepared. Election officials say your ballot is going to be long. It’s two pages, front to back, which means more time may be needed to fill it out.
Ballot fatigue can cause long lines, so officials suggest you download and fill out a sample ballot that you bring with you to the polls. This will allow you to use it as a guide, so you can easily know who and what you want to vote for.
Voters will decide who the next governor and senator will be in Florida. There are also 12 proposed amendments on the ballot.
Election officials say you'll be able to see changes in your everyday life, whether the amendments pass or fail.
“We are trying to remind voters, these races directly impact them as Florida voters and Collier County voters,” said Collier County Election’s Communications Coordinator, Trisha Robertson. “It’s so important for them to have a voice and vote for what’s important to them.”
If you want to vote in person, Robertson says it should take about 10 to 15 minutes from the time you check in, to the time you fill out your ballot.
In Collier County, about 36,000 people have voted by mail as of Thursday, Oct. 25. Nearly 60% of those voters are Republican.
However, that is not surprising considering that there is more than twice the amount of registered Republican voters in the Collier County than Democratic ones.
Election supervisors say regardless of your party affiliation, get out and vote. The last few major elections in Florida were decided by a single percentage point.
“Midterm elections have a history of a low turnout. In 2014, we only saw 61% turnout in the general election where we saw 87% for the Presidential election in 2016,” Robertson said. “We want them to participate but we also want them to be informed voters.”
If you want to vote early in-person, Robertson says the best times to come are between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays and on Sundays.
Polls open in Collier County at 9 a.m. Early voting will end on Saturday, Nov. 3, three days before election day.