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Florida Polling Hours & Key Election Day Info

Florida, Florida election

People line up to vote at an early voting polling center in Miami, Florida on November 3. (Getty)

Florida voters will head to the polls Tuesday to cast votes for federal and state offices. In addition to the presidential race, the ballot also features a U.S. Senate race, a Congressional race in each of the state’s 27 districts, and state legislative races.

Here’s what you need to know as you head to the polls:

POLLING HOURS & LOCATIONS: The polls open at 7:00 a.m. local time on Election Day, November 8, 2016, and shall be kept open until 7:00 p.m. local time. Please be aware that while Florida polls close at 7 p.m., Florida has two time zones. Voting will not be completed statewide until 7 p.m. Central. Any voter who is in line at the time of the official closing of the polls shall be allowed to cast a vote in the election. If you’re unsure at which precinct you’ll be voting, you can find out through the voter registration lookup tool on the Florida Division of Elections website.

REGISTRATION GUIDELINES: The voter registration deadline in Florida was extended to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, postmarked. Florida does not have same day registration. If you’re unsure whether you’re already registered, you can check your status via the state’s registration lookup tool.

TRACKING RESULTS: There are a number of ways to track results. The Florida Department of State will post results on its website. Politico will also post state-by-state results online, you can find Florida’s results here. WTVT, Tampa’s FOX affiliate will also track statewide results on their website. In the Tampa area, Bay News 9 will have election coverage beginning at 7 a.m. until all results are in.

WHAT’S AT STAKE IN FEDERAL RACES:

In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s general election, statewide polls show Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump increasingly tight in the race to capture Florida. Florida’s 29 electoral votes are critical for Trump’s path to the presidency. Florida voted for President Obama in both 2008 and 2012, when the president won the state by 0.9 percentage points.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, is facing Democratic nominee Patrick Murphy in the race for the Florida Senate seat currently held by Rubio.

All 27 of the state’s U.S. representatives are up for re-election. Florida has 27 members in the House of Representatives, 10 Democrats and 17 Republicans. Every House seat is up for election every two years. Click here for a list of House districts.

WHAT’S AT STAKE IN STATE RACES: The next Florida governor’s race isn’t until 2018, however each state senator and state representative is up for re-election. The Republicans have controlled the governor’s mansion since 1998 when Jeb Bush took office. Following Bush, Charlie Crist served as governor. Currently, Rick Scott is the governor who began his term first term in 2011. Republicans hold large majorities in both houses of the legislature: 26 of 40 seats in the Senate and 81 of 120 seats in the House.

State Senate seats are usually up for election in staggered terms with half the seats being up for election during a presidential election year and the other half being up for election during a midterm election in which Florida chooses a governor. However, any time the districts are redrawn, every seat must be decided by a new election.

Since the boundaries of Florida’s state legislative districts were redrawn, every single state Senate seat will be up for election in 2016.

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