Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday for Florida’s 2020 primary election. All Polk County registered voters, regardless of party, can participate in elections for two School Board members, a county commissioner and the supervisor of elections. Other contests are reserved for registered Democrats and Republicans. Here’s what you need to know:

Polling places, sample ballots: Find your precinct and check a sample ballot customized to your address. Check a composite sample ballot here or at the end of this article.

One Lakeland precinct has moved to a new polling place. Precinct 224, which formerly voted at Chapel in the Grove, is now at Cleveland Heights Golf Club.

Research candidates and ballot issues: Check LkldNow’s voter guide to the local races on Tuesday’s ballot.

What to bring: Bring a driver license or other ID card that contains a photo and your signature. Voters may also bring their own blue or black pen as a coronavirus precaution.

Coronavirus precautions: Face masks are encouraged, but not required. Poll workers will be wearing masks, and booths are to be sanitized throughout the day, Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards said. Social distancing may restrict the number of voters allowed in the polling place at one time. Elections officials also suggest bringing patience since there may be fewer poll workers present.

Mail voting: If you requested and received a mail ballot, you have until 7 p.m. Tuesday to turn it in at a Supervisor of Elections Office. Locations are 250 S. Broadway Avenue, Bartow, and 70 Florida Citrus Boulevard, Winter Haven.

If you decide to go to your polling place instead, you can turn in your mail ballot and vote a precinct ballot instead.

Voters who submitted their mail-in ballot can check online to see if it was received and counted.

Early voting ended Saturday. Largely attributed to coronavirus concerns, more people in Polk County participated in early and mail-in voting this year than in any previous primary election.

As of Saturday evening, 115,035 mail-in ballots had been requested in Polk out of 452,202 registered voters, and 56,861 ballots had been returned, Edwards said. Early voting attracted 7,252 voters.

The previous record for a primary election was 44,666 vote-by-mail and 10,292 early voting in 2018.

The last presidential election — 2016 — saw the highest-ever numbers of pre-election-day voting in Polk: 79,720 vote-by-mail and 92,598 early voting, Edwards said.

Party registration: Republicans hold a lead among registered voters in Polk at 164,512. There are 157,179 Democrats, and 130,511 registered with other parties or no party affiliation.

Democrats held an edge on mail-in ballots sent and returned. The numbers returned as of Saturday night were  26,425 from Democrats, 22,187 from Republicans and 8,249 from other registrations.

Republicans held an edge among those who participated in early voting: 3,578 Republicans, 3,192 Democrats, and 482 other registrations.

Track election results: After polls close at 7 p.m., follow the link on the polkelections.com home page. In addition, we’ll be posting a roundup article on the LkldNow.com home page on Tuesday night.


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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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