August 23 is a big day in the Keys – it’s the Primary Election 

August 19 — Some important decisions will be made next Tuesday at the ballot box because it’s the Primary Election in Monroe County. 

The Honorable Joyce Griffin, Supervisor of Elections in Monroe County, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM to give a rundown of the election process. 

Anyone who has not yet registered to vote will not be able to go to the ballot box on August 23. Books close for new registration and party changes 29 days prior to each election. You will still be able to register and vote in the November midterm. 

If you have a driver’s license, click here to register to vote or change your address:

Griffin said, “That’s very important because the law says you must vote by where you’re living at the time you’re voting. So if you have moved, do this change now because if you go to the old polling place, they will send you to the new one. Nobody has time to go to two different polling places.” 

When you show up on the day of the election, Florida requires some form of identification. There’s a list of IDs that the polling places will accept on the website. 

Griffin explained, “If you walk in there without any ID at all, you can vote a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot is very much like a vote-by-mail ballot at the polling place. They’ll have you instead of putting your ballot in the tabulator, they’ll have you put it in an envelope. Then it comes back to the office, we check the signature on file against the signature that’s on the envelope and if it matches, we count it.” 

A number of races will be decided for Monroe County on Tuesday, including school board seats and some judges. 

There are also important questions the voters will be deciding. 

Griffin said, “These are very important elections. Normally in Monroe County, we will have an 80 percent turnout for a presidential, but only a 50 to 55% turnout for a gubernatorial. Really, the governor is a big deal for you. This truly affects your life and these County Commission races, these school board races affect your life immediately. So this race is as important as the presidential race.” 

The Key West office, the Marathon office, the Key Largo office, the Big Pine Community Park and the Islamorada Library will be open today until 5 p.m. and tomorrow 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for people to vote early. 

Griffin said, “If you can’t get to the polls on Tuesday, come on out and vote early. We also have secure ballot intake stations, formerly known as the drop boxes. They are at each of the locations, so if you have a vote-by-mail ballot, you could drop them off at any of those five locations.” 

On election day, the polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Griffin reminded, “They open sharp at 7 and they close sharp at 7, so if you’re two minutes late, you won’t be able to vote.” 

If you are in line by 7 p.m., but have not yet voted, you should be okay. The polling place will remain open for you to vote. The deputies will stand at the end of the line at 7 p.m. and no one will be able to get into the line. 

Griffin said, “It’s real important because you have to remember after every election, there are some very happy people and there are some very sad people and the very sad people want to make the very happy people sad. We’ve gone to court before to defend our elections and we’ve just got to follow the law. It’s not that we’re being mean. If you walk up and you’re a minute late, you’re a minute late. We can’t take you and it has happened.” 

There is a count on the website of how many ballots have been cast already. As of this article, there have been 7,791 mail-in votes counted and 2,290 early votes. That represents about an 18.5% turnout. 

Measures have been put in place to secure the integrity of elections. 

Griffin said, “In Monroe County, we’ve always had eyes on the box. We hired people. Our boxes get rolled out at 8:30 and they get rolled back in at 5, so they’re not out there overnight. We do have eyes on the box. We have people watching the box to make sure someone doesn’t run away with it. We get a lot of compliments. A lot of people like that. Especially in Key West, there’s no parking. So they can just kind of drive by and drop off their ballot and keep on going. It’s been quite a wonderful thing for our voters to have those boxes there.” 

Griffin is a county, state and federal office. The cities may decide to do their own elections. 

Griffin said, “The only thing I have to do for the cities by law is when they’re having their election I would have to print out their poll books because there is a law that says there can only be one voter registration system and I oversee that, but there’s no law that says we have to do city elections. Now cities do pay taxes and if I’m already going to have a ballot going out why not save them some money and then they could maybe hire a new person or they could fix a building or something. There’s no use of wasting money. We have different cooperations with the different cities. We right now do all of the city elections.” 

It’s important to get out there and vote, one way or another. 

Griffin said, “Don’t let the rain discourage you. Us islanders, we love our water, we love being in our water, we love floating on the water, in the water. We don’t like it falling on our heads. Sometimes that will make the turnout a little less. So get out there while it’s pretty and go vote.” 

Remember you don’t have to fill in every oval on that ballot. 

Griffin said, “Don’t vote blindly. If you don’t know somebody, don’t guess. We once had during a primary, we had a candidate on a ballot and he was in jail for violation of cocaine charges and he won the primary because his name was a very familiar name. So know who you’re voting for. Do your research now. Check these things out before because now is the time that you can sit at your dining room table and inform yourself on how to vote, but don’t guess. You can leave it blank if you don’t want to vote on a question or a candidate.” 

All information can be found here: