State OKs expanding early voting in storm-affected counties

(Shane Battis)
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 1:44 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The state of Florida has announced that in the wake of Hurricane Ian, election officials in Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties will be able to extend the early voting period and add polling locations to ensure citizens have every chance to cast ballots for the Nov. 8 general election.

However, Sarasota Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner says expanding early voting isn’t necessary here.

“At this time, we do not anticipate any changes to this schedule due to impacts from Hurricane Ian and are confident that voters will have full access to the voting process,” he said in a statement released Thursday.

Turner said there was a small number of polling sites may have to be relocated. “We are aware of a very small number of polling locations (out of a total of 75) that may not be able to support Election Day voting. We are still working to communicate with a few remaining sites before determining whether any further changes may be needed,” the statement said.

Early voting in Sarasota County is scheduled to begin Monday, Oct. 24 and continue through Sunday, Nov, 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily, at nine locations.

The emergency order also allows voters in the three counties to request by phone that their vote-by-mail ballot be mailed to an address other than their address of record if they had to relocate due to storm damage.

It also would increase the pool of eligible poll workers who may serve within Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties by making eligible any poll workers previously trained for the 2020 election cycle and thereafter and by encouraging state employees to serve as poll workers in these counties.

DeSantis also directed all state agencies to render aid and assistance as needed by the Supervisors of Elections in Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties.

The nine early voting sites in Sarasota County are:

  • Sarasota Elections Office, Terrace Building, 2001 Adams Lane, Sarasota
  • Venice Elections Office, R.L. Anderson Admin Center, 4000 S Tamiami Trail, Rm 114, Venice
  • North Port Elections Office, Biscayne Plaza, 13640 Tamiami Trail, North Port
  • North Sarasota Public Library, 2801 Newtown Blvd, Sarasota
  • Fruitville Public Library, 100 Apex Road, Sarasota
  • The Devyn Event Center, 7113 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (replaces Sarasota Square Mall early voting site)
  • Bee Ridge Park, 4430 S Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota
  • Venice Public Library, 300 Nokomis Ave S, Venice
  • Shannon Staub Public Library, 4675 Career Lane, North Port