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'Souls to the polls' slowly making a comeback in Fla.

Early voting in the Aug. 26 statewide primary election starts next week across Florida, and one of the changes the Legislature made in 2013 was to allow early voting on the Sunday immediately before the election.

It's known as "Souls to the Polls" because a lot of churches, especially in African-American neighborhoods, encouraged worshippers to vote after attending Sunday services.

Politifact Florida confirmed that black voters were more likely than other minority groups to take advantage of the convenience on the Sunday right before the election.

Ten of Florida's 67 counties will hold early voting open on Sunday, Aug. 24, but they include most of the state's largest counties.They are Bradford, Broward, Charlotte, Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Seminole.

Among the 10 most populous counties, three will not hold early voting on that final Sunday: Brevard, Lee and Polk. Those three and the rest will end early voting on Saturday, Aug. 23. All counties' early voting hours and locations are on the state Division of Elections website.

Under the new early voting system, approved as part of HB 7013 in the 2013 session, counties must offer early voting on a minimum of eight days and can offer it up to 14, and they are required to hold early voting on the preceding Sunday, Aug. 17.

Some county election supervisors don't offer early voting two days before the election to give their employees a day of rest. In addition, turnout for the primary is expected to be low, in the 20 percent range (statewide turnout in the 2012 primary was 20.5 percent, and it was 22 percent in 2010).

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Dr. Tim Adams, Th. D.

Thank God and the Legislature for Re-instating EARLY VOTING.

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