Primary raises questions for general election

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Volusia School Board Member Ida Duncan Wright and Mayor Derrick Henry are shown during early voting during the primary.

DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

The 2020 primary election highlighted possible concerns for the general election on Nov. 3.

Concerns of voter turnout, absentee/vote by mail ballots, voter suppression and even dead voters casting ballots surface.

The deadline to register to vote for the general election is Oct. 5. The deadline to request and absentee/mail in ballot is Oct. 24. Early voting runs Oct. 19 to Nov. 1.

The Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis encourages voters to make sure their information is updated.

“We had no major issues during the primary. People were upset of the change of polling locations. We moved to schools due to the coronavirus. For the general election, it’s absolutely important to make sure all information is updated, especially addresses. You can do it over the phone or online at our website,” Lewis said.

Registered but not voting

In Volusia County, voter turnout was 28 percent for the primary, which was higher than previous primaries but still low.

The Volusia County/Daytona Beach NAACP has worked to get voters to the polls especially minorities and African Americans.

“We are always concerned with turnout. It was low and primaries particularly are low. Voters need to know that politics starts at the local level. I am concerned with turnout of minorities and African Americans,’’ said Cynthia Slater, president of the local NAACP.

“We are registered but not voting. I know COVID-19 has people concerned but absentee ballots have been around a long time.’’

Voting-by-mail concerns

Another concern for the upcoming general election is U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy scaling back post office services following President Donald Trump orders which could hold up vote by mail.

The national NAACP and several states are suing DeJoy and the post office. Slater noted, “We are concerned. It’s voter suppression 101. Vote-by mail is efficient and proven. We encourage voters to get their ballots early enough to be mailed in or hand delivered on time.”

Election officials are also touting early voting during the coronavirus pandemic. Lewis added, “Vote by mail is a safe and secure way to vote. As soon as you get it, put it out.

We have drop off locations at early voting sites and the supervisor of elections office.”

Results of recount

During the primary, Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry was re-elected to a third term. A mandated recount days later confirmed his win, but one candidate still isn’t convinced.

Sherrise Boyd (19 percent) finished third in the race behind Henry (over 50 percent) and Rod Strickland (32 percent).

Boyd told the Daytona Times, “I just want a fair and legitimate count. It’s over as we see it, but I don’t think it’s over. There were 57 provisional ballots and two of the voters who voted for Henry were deceased and thrown out. We didn’t review the others.

She questioned why “dead people’s votes’’ were included in the count.

“I hope the governor steps in. It’s an issue that should be looked into.”

How it happened

Elections officials says there are only two ways to address remove deceased voters from the rolls.

Lewis explained, “There only two ways to remove a dead voters vote. We must get a notification from the state, which happens regularly. Also, the voter’s family gives us a copy of the death certificate.

“In the Daytona mayor’s race, we had a person who died on July 23. We got their ballot on July 22. It would have counted but there was no signature. If we don’t get notification, we don’t know. Vote by mail has to have a signature,” Lewis added.

Daytona Beach has over 43,000 registered voters. Only 12,415 voted for mayor, which is less than 30 percent.

Slater expressed, “I can’t say dead people are on the rolls. I don’t believe that. The main concern is turnout. Look at the mayor’s race. A person in a city of this size can become mayor with just over 10 percent of the electorate. It’s our civic duty to exercise our right to vote and choose who represents us.”

Complete electtion results and information can be found at www.volusiaelections.org

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