TAMPA, Fla. — Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer announced Friday that Amalie Arena will be open for early voting in the November election.
Voting will take place Oct. 19 through Nov. 1.
This makes it easier to allow for social distancing, which is what health experts are recommending.
"We recommend that polling locations be moved to large, well-ventilated areas that can accommodate the necessary social distancing measures and the distance that is going to be needed between the polling booths," says Dr. Krutika Kuppalli with the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
We reached out to the supervisors of elections in each county in the area to see if any of these kinds of spaces are being considered for polling locations. Here's what they told us.
Hardee County is are not considering changing any of the polling locations.
Polk County already has contracts and 453,000 voters have been notified of their polling places. If they find themselves in need of a voting location, they would consider arenas, stadiums, and convention centers.
Sarasota County has eight early voting sites for the general election. One of the largest sites is at Sarasota Square Mall, where the voting area is set up in the center court of the mall and is an open area with high ceilings.
Citrus County uses the Citrus County Auditorium and the National Guard Armory on election day. It does not have large venues.
Hernando County does not have arenas or convention centers. It is utilizing a school gymnasium as well as three other gymnasiums in the county.
Pinellas County says voter participation in elections is highly contingent on consistency.
Since 2008, Pinellas County has been educating voters on their voting options: mail ballots, early voting and on election day. Overwhelmingly, voters in Pinellas prefer voting by mail. During this pandemic, voting by mail is by far the safest way to cast a ballot. Voters who prefer not to mail their ballots will have access to 24 mail ballot drop-off locations strategically located across Pinellas County. More than 90% of voters are within 3 miles of a ballot drop-off location. We will increase to 5 Early Voting locations, and we will maintain 166 polling locations on Election Day.
Hillsborough County will use Amalie Arena for early voting in the 2020 General Election. With this new site, Hillsborough County voters will now be able to vote in any of 25 early voting sites from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Oct. 19 through Nov. 1.
Highlands County polls are remaining the same. Highlands County is limited and does not have arenas or stadiums, and would like to keep constant what the voters expect when voting. The county will follow the CDC guidelines and recommendations from the county Health Department and provide PPE for all election workers.
We are still waiting to hear back from Pasco and Manatee counties.
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