Voting Update — 10-25-22

From the News-Press:

Lee changes voting rules to help those displaced by hurricane

The impact of Hurricane Ian will be felt at polling places this year since the state has changed voting rules in Lee County to make it easier for people displaced during Hurricane Ian.

The rules mean extended early voting hours so voters’ choices will count in their home precinct — even if their home is uninhabitable or has been destroyed.

Here’s what to know:

New procedures mandates

Florida has mandated new procedures for the November election in Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota counties as a result of the extensive damage brought by Hurricane Ian.

The storm made some polling places impossible to use, such as the Dr. Carrie Robinson Center in Dunbar that has traditionally seen a steady parade of early voters in past elections.

Election officials say don’t worry about voting at a different polling place than you are used to.

  • Lee, the seventh biggest county in the state, will have ballot-on-demand, letting voters show up at any polling place in the county and cast ballots that are based on their home precincts.
  • The ballot a voter will get at the polls will be printed from an elections office database programmed to include the exact same races that voter would see at his or her usual polling place.

‘Early voting’ extended

“We can extend early voting all the way through Election Day. Our plan is to open 12 sites — it will be just like early voting all the way through election day,” said Lee County Election Supervisor Tommy Doyle.

Early voting sites will be open starting on Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day through Nov. 7. On Election Day, Nov. 8, the hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Doyle said that a request for vote-by-mail may have expired for some voters, and there is concern that the ballots may have been undeliverable in the wake of the hurricane.

“That’s another reason for going through the process of early voting, because there’s a lot of displaced voters,” Doyle said. “It’s not just for Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel and Pine Island. It’s the whole county, many people have been displaced because of flooding.”

Voters can show proper identification to get the right ballot at the polls, based on their listed address.

Drop-off voting is now known as voting at “secure ballot intake stations.” Rules against harvesting ballots will be in effect. Doyle said that other than family members’ ballots, you can only drop off two other completed ballots.


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