Early voting starts today in Florida.
Early voting should not be confused with absentee voting.
Absentee voting is where you or someone pretending to be you asks to be sent a ballot, and then you or they fill it out with any number of close friends watching. Absentee balloting is a rolling feast, which I think began some time ago.
Early voting is just like regular voting, complete with new optical scanning voting machines, except the hours and locations are different. You can't do it in as many places, nor for as many hours in the day.
Eye on Miami kindly provides a guide, Miami Dade Early Voting Where and When.
I've never voted early — there's something about the democratic ritual of the polls, plus the convenience of the local site, only a few blocks from home, that makes it very appealing, even as I wonder whether it should be legal to use a Catholic Church as a place to hold state balloting on state constitutional amendments regarding things like abortion or gay marriage. Might it sway some religious Catholic voters on some issues? But I digress.
I'm somewhat tempted to try early voting this year, as I think the lines at the polls will be long. But I hear they will probably be long at the early voting stations too.