By CBSMiami.com Team

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Voters in three Broward districts are heading to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in special elections.

The January 11th Special General and Special Primary Elections are to fill vacant seats in U.S. Congressional District 20, State Senate District 33, and State House District 94.

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In the U.S. Representative in Congress, District 20 General Election, all voters in the district are able to participate in this election.

Republican Jason Mariner and Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick are the two big names in the race. The winner will replace longtime Congressman Alcee Hastings who died last April.

“I ask them what can I do from Congress to make your lives better? I’ve gotten the same answers over and over. It’s protect our jobs, protect our kids, make our communities better and safer,” said Mariner.

“Housing is such a big issue in our district. I get calls even when I’m out there about people who have housing issues. So whatever we can do to alleviate that pain through the district,” said Cherfilus-McCormick.

(Source: Broward Supervisor of Elections)

In the State Senate, District 33 Democratic Primary Election only voters who are registered as a Democrat will be able to vote in this race because Florida is a “closed primary” state.

In the Florida House, District 94 Universal Primary Election, since all qualified candidates for this office have the same party affiliation and the winner will have no opposition in the General Election, this is a “Universal Primary Contest” in which all voters may vote.

Those planning to vote at their assigned polling station must have a picture ID with a signature, a voter information card is not necessary.

Those who don’t have an ID must vote by Provisional Ballot per the law. A provisional ballot is always counted when the voter is shown to be registered and eligible, regardless of the closeness of the outcome of the election.

Voters can their polling place by checking their voter information card or by going Find My Precinct.

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Polling sites opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m.

If a voter had requested a vote-by-mail ballot but later decided to vote at the polling place instead, they can bring the vote-by-mail ballot with them to be canceled at their polling place and receive a new ballot to vote at the polls.

On Tuesday, vote-by-mail ballots may be dropped off at any of the available drop boxes.

  • Broward County Governmental Center – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Supervisor of Elections Office at the Lauderhill Mall – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Branches: E. Pat Larkins Center in Pompano Beach – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Tamarac Library – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Miramar Library  – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Vote by mail has become increasingly popular, but it’s not without problems. During the November primary late last year, nearly 300 mail-in ballots never made their way to the Broward Supervisor of Elections office by the deadline, which was 7 p.m. Election Day, even though they were postmarked before the date.

In the hotly contested Democratic primary for the 20th congressional race, Cherfilus-McCormick beat former Broward Mayor Dale Holness by a mere five votes, so the undelivered ballots could have made a difference.

On Monday, Broward Elections Supervisor Joe Scott and South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz traveled to the Opa-locka mail processing center for answers.

“We weren’t able to get to the bottom of what happened but we were able to start a dialogue,” said Scott.

“Mistakes were made and we are building to make it better,” said postal union rep Dick Mosezar.

Scott says so far voter turnout has been low.

The district has 422,128 eligible voters, but as of Tuesday morning, only 36,667 votes had been cast between mail-in votes and early voting.

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“I urged the governor to have the primary in August and the general election in November.  January is not the time when people are used to voting,” said Scott.

CBSMiami.com Team