All eyes on Florida: Election Day arrives in the battleground state

Florida is always one of the biggest prizes in presidential elections. It's one of the six states supposedly key to winning the White House this year.

After setting records for votes cast before Election Day, Floridians are lining up for a final day of voting in a state that has 29 Electoral College votes seen as vital.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday across the state, and election officials say they are prepared for a record turnout. Polls close at 7 p.m.

Before heading to a polling site, make sure to grab an approved form of photo ID. There are technically 12 approved forms but a driver's license may be the easiest. 

RELATED: Voting in Florida 2020; Tampa Bay area election guide


Florida constitutional amendments: What do they mean?

This November, there are six proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot in Florida, covering topics from the state’s minimum wage to the amendment process itself.

Another tip from election officials is for voters to familiarize themselves with their ballot and read the proposed amendments. It may be a good idea to bring that sample ballot that was mailed with you for reference. You can make notes on it, fill it out as you research those amendments or candidates, and that way you’re ready to go once you get in the booth.

MORE: Star 2016 pollster again predicts Trump will take Florida -- this time by wider margin

If you don’t have your ID or if you get to the polls and they don’t have you on the register, you can still vote, you just need to request a provisional ballot.

"A provisional ballot is like an insurance policy because it gives us time to ascertain if the voter is registered and if they’re in the right voting site," explained Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer. "I always tell people don’t just walk away. If they think they’re in the  right place go ahead and they know they’re registered ask to vote a provisional ballot."

More than 62% of Floridians have already voted during early voting. If you have a mail-in ballot, don’t drop it in the mail. It will not get there on time. Instead, you must take that to a Supervisor of Elections office.

READ: County to watch: Pinellas voters often mirror overall presidential outcome

In Hillsborough County, Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said 16,778 voters had already cast their ballot within the first hour of polls opening.

Over in Pinellas, 7,100 residents voted in the first 30 minutes.

Florida is seen as a toss-up. Polls have shown the Republican incumbent and Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden virtually tied. And while Democrats dominated vote-by-mail ballots, Republicans closed the gap with early in-person voting and are expected to turn out in higher numbers Tuesday.

“It’s going to be close,” said Michael Binder, who runs the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab. He said the margin of victory would likely be within 1 percentage point. “Two percent is a blowout of epic proportions in the state of Florida,” he said.

In addition to the presidential election, Florida has a handful of close congressional races as Democrats hope to outnumber Republicans in the U.S. House for the first time in decades.

RELATED: Election Day freebies: Here's where voters or poll workers can get free or discounted food

Floridians will vote on six proposed constitutional amendments, including one that would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and Republicans will seek to keep their majority in the state House and Senate.

But the contest between Trump and Biden is the main event and the outcome is anything but clear.

Florida set the standard for close presidential elections in 2000, when George W. Bush defeated Al Gore by 537 votes out of nearly 6 million cast. It took five weeks and a U.S. Supreme Court order halting a messy recount process before Florida determined who would the next president.

READ: Record number of voters cast ballots during early voting

Since then, Florida has had a string of close elections. Trump carried Florida four years ago by a thin margin, beating Hillary Clinton by 1.2 percentage points and earning only 49% of the vote.

In 2012, President Barack Obama carried Florida over Mitt Romney by less than a percentage point. Obama beat John McCain by 2.8 percentage points in 2008.

The Associated Press contributed to this report