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NEWS: Early voting starts today in Hillsborough County

Vote By Mail has been breaking records in Hillsborough County this election, but it’s not the only option. For voters who prefer to vote in person, Early Voting begins Monday in Hillsborough County. In Hillsborough County, Early Voting is open for 14 days, from October 19 through November 1, 7AM to 7PM, including weekends.

Hillsborough County voters can choose from any of 26 Early Voting
locations to vote. This is different from Election Day, when voters must vote in the polling place assigned to their precinct. Each Early Voting location will also have a curbside, Vote By Mail drop-off tent for voters who want to turn in their Vote By Mail ballots in person.

“We are a large county and I want our voters to have plenty of options, so I’ve added extra sites and we will be open the maximum number of days and hours allowed by law,” said Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer. “In these uncertain times, I encourage voters to vote early if you can. If you get sick, or someone you care for gets sick, you may not be able to vote on Election Day.”

Early Voting for the General Election includes two new sites, at Amalie Arena and Raymond James Stadium. The voting sites in those locations will be similar in size to other large Early Voting sites in the county,
including the sites at several libraries and the University Area Community Center.

The elections office has taken extensive measures to ensure the health and safety of in-person voting, and has posted a video preview on the 2020 General Election page of their website.

Only a limited number of people will be allowed inside to ensure social distancing, and surfaces will be cleaned throughout the day. Poll workers are required to wear masks at all times, and face shields or plexiglass barriers will provide additional protection.

Supervisor Latimer asks that all voters wear masks and will have them available for voters, if needed. And, voters will get their own combination stylus/pen to sign in and mark their ballot.

“With ongoing cleaning and limited capacity, in-person voting will go a little slower, but once voters are inside the polling place, they should be able to move through quickly,” said Supervisor Latimer.

Voters should bring a Florida Driver License or other acceptable photo and signature ID for voter checkin. If they forget their ID, they can vote a provisional ballot to be verified by the elections office. The full
list of accepted IDs, along with a list of Early Voting locations, can be found on the Early Voting page of VoteHillsborough.org.

“The drive-up Vote By Mail drop-off tents are a contactless way for voters to cast their ballot in person, so I expect this option to be popular. We’ve sent out more than 405,000 Vote By Mail ballots and we want to
see those voted ballots come back in,” said Latimer.

Voters can still request a mail ballot online at VoteHillsborough.org or by calling (813) 744-5900.

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Guide: Don’t miss these Election 2018 voting discounts

Early voting starts in Hillsborough County and Pinellas County on Monday, October 22nd and will go until Election Day 2018 on Tuesday, November 6th.

This Election Day is important with seats such as the race for Governor, House of Representatives, and Senate on the line as well as plenty of amendments and tax proposals.

Learn more about voting in Hillsborough County: http://www.votehillsborough.org/

Learn more about voting in Pinellas County: http://www.votepinellas.com/

Uber and Lyft are providing FREE rides to the polls on Election Day. No excuses.

Some great local businesses will offering perks to voters who show up with their “I Voted” stickers during early voting through Election Day. 

Here is a list of participating local businesses with discounts I rounded up:

  1. Ginger Beard Coffee – 10% OFF with “I Voted” sticker. 1208 E Kennedy Blvd #112, Tampa, FL 33606
  2. Ybor City Wine Bar – One FREE glass of select wine or bubbles. 
    1600 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
  3. Rooster & the Till – Show your “I Voted” sticker and enjoy at 15-percent ‘Neighborhood Love’ discount. 6500 N. Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  4. Nebraska Mini Mart – Show your “I Voted” sticker and enjoy at 15-percent ‘Neighborhood Love’ discount. 4815 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa, FL 33603
  5. Bullfrog Creek Brewing Co. – $1 OFF your craft beer.  3632 Lithia Pinecrest Rd, Valrico, FL 33596
  6. The Refinery – 10% OFF per person with “I Voted” sticker. 
    5910 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  7. Surf & Turf Cafe – FREE side of fries when you order a sandwich or salad bowl from the cafe with “I Voted” sticker. 101 N Franklin St., Tampa, FL 33602
  8. Angry Chair Brewing – BOGO beer with “I Voted” sticker. 
    6401 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  9. The Lab Coffee Tampa – $1 OFF any espresso beverage with “I Voted” sticker. 1703 W State St, Tampa, FL 33606
  10. Empamamas (Armature Works) – 10% OFF your order with “I Voted” sticker. 1910 N. Ola Ave., Tampa, FL 33602
  11. Mekenita Cantina – 10% OFF your entire order with “I Voted” sticker. 
    6707 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33604
  12. Independent Bar and Cafe, Tampa – 15% OFF with “I Voted” sticker. 
    5016 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603
  13. Sulphur Springs Sandwich Shop – 10% OFF to whoever is wearing their “I Voted” sticker. 9000 N. Florida Ave. A, Tampa, FL 33604
  14. Jet City Espresso Seminole Heights – 10% discount off of all coffee/tea drinks with sticker.6601, 5803 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  15. Leaven Brewing – 10% OFF with “I Voted” sticker. 
    11238 Boyette Rd., Riverview, FL 33569
  16. Heights Pizza – 10% OFF to anyone who presents the “I Voted” sticker on pickup or delivery. 7504 N. Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  17. Snobachi – Buy 1, Get One 50% OFF from Tuesday to Thursday with “I Voted” sticker until Election Day. 2206 E. 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605, Tampa, FL 33605
  18. Cigar City Brewing – 10% OFF for “I Voted” Sticker on Election Day 2018 (Nov. 6). 3924 W. Spruce St., Tampa, FL 33607
  19. Brew Bus Brewing – FREE house beer to people with “I Voted” sticker (Election Day only). 
    4101 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603
  20. Hemingway’s (Armature Works) – 15% OFF with your voting sticker from now until Election Day! 1910 N Ola Ave, Tampa, FL 33602
  21. Coppertail Brewing Co. – Come with your “I VOTED” sticker and get a FREE beer. We are honoring this during early voting through Election Day (one per person on the day you voted please). 2601 E. 2nd Ave., Tampa, FL 33605