TAMPA, Fla. — Election Day is just a few days away, but some local counties are already seeing large voter turnouts.
"Voting is the foundation of a democracy," said Jeremy Lund.
"I want to make sure my vote counts," said Katelyn Sommerer.
They were a few of the nearly 400,000 voters in Pinellas County who have already cast their ballots, either through mail-in or early voting.
Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco Counties are all seeing nearly 55 percent voter turn out so far, according to their supervisor of elections offices.
"We almost have back the same number of mail ballots that have been returned that we mailed in 2016. And we’ve already broken our record of most early voters ever in Pinellas County," said Julie Marcus, the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections.
With just a few days left, though, election officials are encouraging voters who still have a vote by mail ballot to drop it off. It must be back to them by 7 p.m. on Election Day, not just postmarked by then.
In Pinellas County, they can be dropped off at more than two dozen designated ballot drop sites, including the five early voting locations. Early voting ends Sunday evening.
The ballot drop off locations will still accept mail ballot drop-offs on Monday. On Election Day, they can be returned to a supervisor of elections office.
In Hillsborough County, mail ballots can be dropped off at early voting sites through Sunday evening. After that, they must be dropped off at one of the Supervisor of Elections offices.
If you plan to vote on Election Day, officials said to make sure you have a plan and know the polling place assigned to your precinct you must go to.
"The most important thing is to make sure you’re election ready. You know where yes I’m registered to vote, my information is up to date, my name is current, my address is current. If I choose to vote by mail, what am I going to do with the ballot am I going to drop it off, or am I going to go to an early voting site and vote in person. Or if I’m going to vote on Election Day, do I know where I’m going," said Marcus.