MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Monday morning’s rain didn’t stop lines of voters from heading out for the start of in-person early voting on Monday.
“We got here at 5 a.m.,” said Lydia Silva who waited outside the Miami-Dade County Election Headquarters in Doral with her husband, Enrique, on Monday.
There are 33 early voting locations in Miami-Dade County opened at 7 a.m. Monday.
The early voting sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until November 1. The general election is on November 3.
“We’ve started off quite busy as we expected for a Presidential Election,” said Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Christina White. “We already have about 8,000 people who have voted in the first couple of hours.” She called it a record setting turnout and also told CBS4 she expects a record 80 percent voter turnout in the 2020 election.
Several early voting locations saw long lines of voters on Monday, including the Coral Gables and North Miami Public Libraries.
“I know some people prefer the mail-in ballot, but I just thought it’s that serious of an election that if I could come in person, I did so,” said Marie Fatil, who said she waited about 90 minutes in line on Monday.
By the time it hit 10 p.m. Monday, a total of 43,396 people had early voted in Miami-Dade.
“I’m kind of happy about the line. I thought it would be a lot worse. Maybe it will get worse as well get closer to Election Day,” said Lourdes Borron.
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Wait times for all early voting sites are posted on county elections department websites.
Voters can also turn in their requested vote-by-mail ballots at secure drop boxes located at any of the 33 early voting locations, while they are open and four extra drop boxes located at:
- Elections Department (Main Office), 2700 NW 87th Avenue, Miami, Fl. 33172
- Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW 1st Street (Lobby), Miami, FL. 33128
- North Dade Regional Library, 2455 NW 183rd Street, Miami Gardens, FL. 33056
- South Dade Regional Library, 10750 SW 211 Street, Cutler Bay, FL. 33189
The heavy turnout could be complicated by precautions aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus, which requires social distancing and sanitizing voting machines after each time they are used.
The Miami-Dade County Elections Department is also providing all poll workers with face shields, masks and disposable gloves. Hand sanitizer is being offered to all voters upon entering and exiting the voting location and is providing access to bathrooms that have soap and water available for hand washing.
All voters are required to wear facial coverings at all times, and they must use the hand sanitizer that is provided upon entering and exiting.
But those worries about election intimidation can rest easy, as law enforcement officers are making sure their presence is known.
The city of Miami has officers in plain clothes and in uniform patrolling the polling sites.
Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina hopes to ease concerns by telling people there are currently no credible threats countywide.
“You’re going to have the ability to go vote peacefully without being coerced or harassed in any fashion,” he said.
Officers in Miami have also canceled vacation and time off leading up to during and after the election.