Want to vote by mail in special congressional primary? Request your ballot now.

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People who want to vote by mail in the South Florida 20th Congressional District primaries need to request their ballots right away, if they haven’t done so already.

The deadline is 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23 — several days earlier than people have been used to for most of the past 20 years of increasingly popular voting-by-mail.

As the mail has slowed in recent years, Florida moved up the request deadline to make sure ballots mailed by elections offices are received in plenty of time for voters to fill them out and get them back.

Primary day is Nov. 2, and mail ballots must be back in county elections offices by 7 p.m. that day. Postmarks don’t count.

The primaries are open to Democrats and Republicans in the Broward and Palm Beach County district, which takes in most of the African American and Caribbean American communities in the two counties.

The district is so overwhelmingly Democratic that the winner of the primary is virtually guaranteed to become the next member of Congress to fill the vacancy created by the April 6 death of the late Congressman Alcee Hastings. That won’t formally happen until the special general election on Jan. 11.

Most people who want to vote by mail have already received ballots automatically if they made requests before the 2020 presidential elections. Earlier requests, made for the 2018 election for governor, have expired.

Information about whether a voter lives in the 20th District, requesting a vote by mail ballot or finding out if previous mail-ballot request are still good is available online and by phone.

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