MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The November general election is a little less than five weeks away, but thousands of voters can start voting in South Florida this weekend. Around 172,000 absentee ballots went out Friday morning and will arrive in mailboxes across the area over the next few days.

Elections officials are expecting tens of thousands more ballots to be requested as Election Day nears, primarily due to the length of the ballot. This year’s ballot in Miami-Dade County is the longest in county history.

“Most voters will receive a five page ballot front and back with some voters receiving a six-page ballot,” said Penelope Townsley, Miami-Dade Elections Supervisor. “The key to getting through this ballot is being prepared.”

The ballot will not only contain the candidates, but also eleven constitutional questions, ten county questions, and one school board question. High turnout for the presidential election and the long ballot questions has elections workers anticipating a long wait for those voting on Election Day.

“The bottleneck could potentially be when the voter is at the voting booth and making those choices,” Townsley said.

Because of that, officials are encouraging people to fill out a sample ballot before they vote so they already know their answers. The other options to avoid lines would be to order an absentee ballot or early vote.

Some voters may feel uncomfortable with absentee ballots after the arrests following the August primary for illegally gathering ballots. Some of the candidates still argue their elections were stolen due to the problems.
“Voters should be very confident in voting absentee,” Townsley said. “They should remember to sign their ballot in the red box and simply drop in the mail or deliver it to our office by 7pm on Election Day. Don’t give it to anyone.

If you are going to vote absentee, you have until the end of October to order a ballot. If you like the old fashioned way of heading to the polls on election day, click here to take a look at the ballot for your district.

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