Today you can cast your ballot for the next President of the United States.
From now until 7 p.m. Nov. 3 will mark the eight-day early voting period in Santa Rosa County.
Registered voters will be able to go to the Supervisor of Elections Office in Milton or the South Santa Rosa Annex to cast their ballot from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. each day.
Santa Rosa County Supervisor of Elections Ann Bodenstein is expecting a big turnout for the general election.
"It has been a very busy past couple of weeks," Bodenstein said. "So far we have mailed out 17,000 absentee ballots and have already received 8,000 back."
The number of ballots returned so far supports Bodenstein's expectation of a 90 to 95 percent voter turnout on Nov. 6 of the almost 113,600 register voters in Santa Rosa County.
With 8,000 absentee ballots returned as of Wednesday, that is over one-third of the roughly 23,600 who voted in the August Primary in Santa Rosa County.
Besides the Presidential race, there will be nine constitutional amendments as well as judge retention votes and two local elections.
The local races involve Santa Rosa County Sheriff Wendell Hall facing opposition from Chris Roper to see who will serve the next term as sheriff in Santa Rosa County, while Charles Elliott and Jenny Granse are running to see who will replace retiring Santa Rosa County
School Board Member JoAnn Simpson, who currently represents District 4.
Due to all the issues on the ballot this November, Bodenstein pointed out the ballot will be two pages long.
"Because the ballot is so long this year there could be some lines and waiting at the polls," Bodenstein said. "We have mailed out a sample ballot and I encourage everyone to read it and mark how they feel.
"Bring it with you on Election Day or make a note card on how you want to vote on the different amendments."
Bodenstein talked to poll workers during training in preparation for the Nov. 6 General election about the possibility Florida Governor Rick Scott executing an executive order extending voting hours.
"The polls will remain open until 7 p.m. and everyone in line at 7 p.m. will vote a regular ballot," Bodenstein said. "But those who get in line after that time to vote will vote a special provisional ballot.
"The reason for this is these ballots could be tied up in the courts for a while after the election because of a bunch of lawsuits."
If a ballot is challenged on Election Day the voter will cast a provisional ballot, but it will be kept separate from the other provisionalís if voting is extended across the state.
"We will use the smaller provisional bag for provision ballots on Election Day and a much larger bag for the provisional ballots that would be cast if the hours are extended."
The Amendments on the ballot this year focuses on - health care services, veterans disabled due to combat injury getting a homestead property tax discount, a state government revenue limitation, property tax limitations when property values decline, state courts, prohibition on public funding of abortions, religious freedom, homestead property tax exemption for surviving spouse of military veteran or first responder, tangible personal property tax exemption, an additional homestead exemption for low income seniors, and the appointment of student body president to board of governors of the state university system.
Due to the sheer number of amendments, Bodenstein is wondering if the governor will invoke an executive order to keep the polls open longer than 7 p.m.
Another big sticking point this year is the retention votes for the judges across the state of Florida.
Voters across Florida are asked to vote to retain or dismiss judges on a merit system.
Supreme Court justices in the state and appeals court justices do not have opponents and they are voted upon every six years.
This year three of seven Supreme Court Justices will be on the ballot and 15 of 61 appeals court judges are up for retention.
These justices were appointed by the Governor's office after receiving a list submitted by the Judicial Nominating commission.
You can find out how these judges and justices have voted in cases by going to www.FloridaBar.org/TheVotesInYourCourt.
On this site you can also see video's of these justices and judges at work and read about their background as well.
In the mid 1970's Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing this system.
Early voting starts today
Oct 26, 2012 at 12:01 AM Oct 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM