Palm Beach County residents who want to get a jump on this month's Republican presidential primary can cast their ballots early, beginning Saturday.
Eight locations will open for voters who want to skip the polls Jan. 31, but they may want to act fast: Voters have fewer days to get their ballots in early this year.
A change in state law approved by the legislature last year cut the number of early voting days from 15 to eight, while allowing sites to remain open for the same number of hours as previously permitted. The law also eliminated a 40-year-old policy that let voters change their addresses at their new precinct on election day.
Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher is urging residents who have recently moved to call her office to update their addresses before they vote. Voters who go to the polls without updating their changed address will be required to cast a provisional ballot, Bucher said.
"If you go into the polling location, it is too late," she said.
As of Thursday, more than 6,700 absentee ballots had been mailed out - 2,800 less than the office sent in 2008, Bucher said. More than 1,675 have been returned, she said.
Bucher said residents who normally vote absentee but have not received ballots in the mail should contact her office, because their request may have expired. Residents have until Jan. 25 to request an absentee ballot for the primary .
Bucher said the state is examining new modems and computer software that her office could use to instantly transmit ballot results from precincts across the county to her office's tabulation center in Riviera Beach. Bucher said the modems won't be in place by Jan. 31, but she hopes to have them when voters go to the polls in August for the primaries for other state offices - ending a decade of frustration over slow election-night results.
In the meantime, Bucher said, her office is looking into the possibility of setting up 17 regional vote-counting machines across the county to tally the Republican primary results. The machines could help reduce the amount of time it takes to truck results to the tabulation center.
"We are working as hard as we can, to make sure we can do it as quickly as possible," Bucher said. "We are really looking forward to the modems."
Early voting starts
Early voting for the Jan. 31 presidential primary begins Saturday at eight locations across Palm Beach County.
HOURS: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sunday. Continues through Jan. 28.
REQUIRED: Voters must present a valid, current form of identification with their picture and signature on it, such as a driver license, passport, or debit or credit card.
Jupiter Branch Library, 705 Military Trail, Jupiter.
Palm Beach Gardens Branch Library, 11303 Campus Drive, Palm Beach Gardens.
Supervisor of Elections Office, 240 S. Military Trail, west of West Palm Beach.
Wellington Branch Library, 1951 Royal Fern Drive, Wellington.
Hagen Ranch Road Branch Library, 14350 Hagen Ranch Road, west of Delray Beach.
Lantana Branch Library, 4020 Lantana Road, west of Lantana.
Belle Glade City Hall, 110 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Belle Glade.
Boca Raton City Hall, 201 W. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton.