Early primary voting begins in Miami-Dade County

DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - Polls in Miami-Dade County are now open, Monday morning, for early voters.

Doors opened at 7 a.m. at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department in Doral as workers prepared to welcome early voters for the 2016 primary election.

Almost 80 machines were tested last week in preparation for Monday’s wave of early voting. They were reportedly tested three times, and election workers underwent mock voting to correct any mistakes.

During primary voting, 1,600 of these machines will be used. “After the voter votes their ballot the way that they want to, they’ll approach the voting unit,” explained Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Christina White. “As you can see, it says, ‘Welcome. Please insert your ballot.’ It says, ‘Scanning ballot in progress. Please wait,’ and it’s just that easy.”

Many citizens came out to place their vote in hopes of avoiding longer lines on election day. “Every time they have early voting, I vote early, that way I don’t have to wait later on in line,” said voter Ariel Sada.

Carmen Gimenez spoke about how quick and simple the process was for her. “I think it’s the best that you can do,” she said. “It’s not many people there inside, and it’s easy. It’s really easy.”

Gimenez also stressed the importance of going out to vote. “Remember that the person that you select will change your county, or will change your city or the way the city is being run, so be smart,” she said.

Officials believe the amount of early voters will increase as the day goes on. “Typical turnout for a primary election is somewhere between 20 to 25 percent overall. About half of our voters will take advantage or early voting or vote by mail before Election Day,” White said.

Election officials are reminding voters to bring their IDs, and unlike voting on election day, all locations are available for early voters to visit and cast their votes, no matter their assigned voting precinct.

Officials also recommend voters to check the county website where they can see exactly what the ballot will look like before they get there. “Florida is a closed primary state, so you have to be a registered member of a political party in order to be able to vote in that party’s primary,” White said.

Early voting is expected to last for the next 14 days, while Broward County is expected to begin early voting next week.