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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — At the Miami-Dade County Elections Office, incoming, 284,000 vote-by-mail ballots ready to be turned around and shipped out to voters across Miami Dade County for the August 28th primary.

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It’s an election for which turnout is typically low, but in a year with high profile names on the ballot, elections say vote by mail request are surging.

“Compared to other times there is definitely an increase as we see that vote by mail is a method that more people are choosing to vote on,” said Robert Rodriguez, Assistant Deputy Supervisor of Elections.

All eyes are on the battle for who will become the nominee in the race for Governor, some are household names. For the Democrats, there’s former Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine and widely considered a front-runner former Congresswoman Gwen Graham. Graham is challenging in a state that has never before elected a woman for it’s highest office.

On the Republican side are congressman Rob De Santis and Florida Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam, who was ahead of De Santis in fundraising and polls, that is until with a single tweet Donald Trump bestowed the lead on De Santis.

Putnam was recently the target of Parkland survivors over his pro-NRA platform, students staged a die-in in May at a Publix Supermarket over donations to Putnam’s campaign.

Experts are now watching what could be the Parkland effect, what could be key in Florida’s Decision 2018, something attributable Parkland activism, According to registration data analysis from Target Smart, young voter registration is up 41% in Florida among 18-29-year-old’s.

Illeana Ros-Lehtinen’s seat is up, but the race getting national attention and shaping up to be a hotly contested dogfight come November is for Senate. Seeking his fourth term is Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, facing off against Governor Rick Scott, the latest polling show the two are virtually tied, Scott with a slight edge.

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If you are planning to vote on the August 28 Florida Primary Election and you want to do it via vote-by-mail ballots, here is what you need to know:

  • Ballots must be back at the county elections headquarters by 7 p.m. on primary day; postmarks don’t count.
  • Ballots must be requested by August 22. Leave yourself enough time to fill it out and mail it back.
  • Double check your ballot before mailing it in and be sure to turn it over and examine every page.
  • Be sure to sign it. The signature must match the signature on file when the person registered to vote. If you think your signature has changed, update it with a new voter registration form.
  • If you receive an absentee ballot and decide to vote in person, you can do that. You can bring the absentee ballot to the poll so it can be canceled but it’s not required. You won’t be able to vote in person if you’ve already mailed in the absentee ballot.

If you aren’t registered already, you can’t vote in the primary election by mail or in person.

Florida is a “closed primary” state, which means only voters registered with a political party may vote in that party’s Primary Election.

One exception: If all the candidates are running as members of the same party, the primary is open to all eligible voters. All voters can also vote in nonpartisan elections for judges and school board members.

In-person early voting begins August 13 in Miami-Dade County and August 18 in Broward County.

The last day of early voting in both counties is Sunday Aug. 26.

For more on Campaign 2018, click here.


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