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Ready to Cast Your Ballot? Early Voting Begins Today, Oct. 27

Area residents can cast their votes for the General Election at the Bloomingdale Regional Library and the Riverview Branch Library.

Fifteen sites throughout Hillsborough County are prepared to accept early votes beginning today, Oct. 27.

However, Earl Lennard, Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, noted there are several changes to the Early Voting process in Hillsborough County.

"The Department of Justice's approval of HB 1355 brings some significant
changes to voters in Hillsborough County," said Lennard. "For example, although we're still offering 96 hours, Early Voting will take place over eight days instead of 12, and we now have Early Voting on a Sunday - which is a first for Hillsborough County voters."

Early Voting is available to all registered voters in Hillsborough County from
Saturday, Oct. 27, through Saturday, Nov. 3. Hours of operation are 7
a.m. to 7 p.m., and residents can cast their ballot at any of the 15 Early
Voting sites throughout the county.

Local sites include the Bloomingdale Regional Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico, and the Riverview Branch Library, 10509 Riverview Dr., Riverview.

A sample ballot is attached to this article.

Residents are reminded to bring a current and valid photo and signature ID.
Examples include:
Florida driver license
Florida ID card (issued by DHSMV)
U.S. passport
Debit or credit card
Military ID
Student ID
Retirement center ID
Neighborhood association ID
Public assistance ID

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner is reminding Floridians to be vigilant this election season and immediately report any potential cases of voter fraud or intimidation.

Examples of suspicious activity can include letters or phone calls about voter eligibility or voting locations or suspicious requests regarding absentee ballots.

“The Florida Department of State unequivocally opposes all attempts at voter fraud or intimidation and will pursue every avenue to ensure free, fair and open elections for all eligible voters,” said Detzner. “Voter fraud and intimidation can deny voters their voice in government and will not be tolerated. I am hopeful that vigilant Floridians will help us identify suspicious activity by calling Florida’s voter fraud hotline at 1-877-868-3737.”

The Department of State’s Division of Elections is currently investigating allegations of a person or group impersonating Florida’s supervisors of elections and fraudulently indicating that some voters may be ineligible to vote.

If any voter receives a fraudulent letter with questionable identification from an elections supervisor, he or she should immediately contact the supervisor of elections. County supervisors of elections can confirm a voter’s information is current and accurate, as well as report any criminal acts to the appropriate authorities.

Other reported activity to the Division of Elections includes phone calls about casting a ballot by phone and wrong voting hours. The division has already forwarded cases of dual registration and double voting to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate, as well as cases regarding illegal voter registration activity.

The Department of State’s Division of Elections conducts preliminary investigations into voter fraud in conjunction with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. If probable cause is found that a violation occurred, the findings are reported to the statewide prosecutor or the state attorney for the judicial circuit in which the alleged violation occurred.

A person who commits or attempts to commit any fraud in connection with voting, votes a fraudulent ballot or votes more than once in an election can be convicted of a felony of the third degree and fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to five years. Certain repeat offenses carry higher penalties.

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