Elections supervisor reiterates safety of voting by mail. For those who want to vote early, it starts on Oct. 19.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The general election is fast approaching with Election Day set for Tuesday, Nov. 3.
The deadline to register to vote in the election is Oct. 5.
While much of the attention for the Nov. 3 general election has been on the U.S. presidency race between incumbent Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, there are a number of local offices up for grabs.
On the ballot
Locally for Volusia County Chair, Councilwoman Deborah Denys faces Jeff Brower.
For Volusia County Council District 2, Danny Fuqua is challenging incumbent Billie Wheeler.
For Volusia County School Board District 2, incumbent Ida Duncan Wright faces a stiff challenge from Anita Burnett.
In the Daytona Beach City Commission Zone 2 race, incumbent Aaron Delgado is being challenged by Tony Servance.
In the Florida House of Representatives District 26 race, incumbent Elizabeth Fetterhoff (R) faces former office holder Patrick Henry (D).
In addition, incumbent R.J. Larizza faces Don Dempsey in the State Attorney 7th Judicial Circuit race while Joan Anthony and Dan Hilbert are vying for the 7th Judicial Group 14 seat.
Voting by mail
To avoid long lines on Election Day, ballots can be cast early through mail-in voting or during early voting.
Vote-by-mail ballots are already in the mail; the first ballots went out Sept. 24.
There have been concerns over vote by mail since President Trump questioned its legitimacy.
However, elections officials are trying to quell fears and say it’s safe to vote by mail.
“It is both a safe and efficient method of voting. It has been around a long time. We encourage people that once they received their ballots to go ahead fill them out and send them back in as quick as possible. The post office does work,’’ Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis told the Daytona Times this week.
Already coming in
By Tuesday afternoon, more than 153,000 ballots had been mailed out with thousands already returned.
Lewis said, “Monday was our first day receiving them. Some people filled them out and returned them immediately. We will get some in every day.”
Mail-in ballots must be signed to count. There are issues with sealing the envelopes.
“When voting by mail, please remember to sign it. Seal the envelope. If you don’t, it still counts. There are some issues with the envelope. Some have a peel and stick seal while others you must moisture to close. Taping the ballot is fine. We’re working to get the word out,” Lewis noted.
Early voting days
- Daytona Beach Regional Library Center at City Island, 105 E. Magnolia St.
- Midtown Cultural & Education Center, 925 George W. Engram Blvd., Daytona Beach
- Volusia County Administration Building, 123 W. Indiana Ave., DeLand
- Deltona City Commission Chambers, 2345 Providence Blvd.
- Port Orange Regional Library, 1005 Centre Center Circle
- New Smyrna Beach Regional Library, 101 S. Dixie Freeway
- Ormond Beach Regional Library, 30 S. Beach St.
A new site
The Midtown Center location is a new site and should help voters in the Midtown community with access to the polls while relieving traffic at other sites.
“During presidential elections, we have around 70 to 85 percent of registered voters vote. We are mailing out more vote-by-mail ballots than ever. An additional site will help, especially in Daytona,” Lewis stated.
“City Island has a small room and gets pretty busy. We must social distance due to COVID- 19. This helps us do that as well as provide an opportunity for voters in that area to get to the polls and alleviate traffic.”
Voting in Flagler
Early voting in Flagler County runs Oct. 19 through Nov.1. Polls open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Early voting locations in Flagler County are:
- County Supervisor of Elections Office at 1796 E. Moody Blvd. Bldg. 2, Suite 101 in Bunnell
- Flagler County Public Library, 2500 Palm Coast Pkwy NW, Palm Coast
- Palm Coast Community Center, 305 Palm Coast Pkwy NE, Palm Coast
Can’t vote twice
The early voting sites also are drop off locations for mail-in ballots.
Ballots also can be dropped off at the Department of Elections Office in DeLand at 1750 S. Woodland Blvd. in Victoria Square daily and on Election Day.
Mail-in ballots will not be accepted at early voting sites on Election Day.
The same goes in Flagler County for dropping off ballots.
Another concern with the upcoming election is voters casting their ballots twice, which Trump has mentioned. However, elections officials say that’s not possible.
“If somebody votes by mail as soon as we receive the ballot, we tally it into the system We track the ballots we mail out, Lewis explained.
“If they try to vote during early voting or on Election Day, it shows that they had a ballot sent out. Vice versa in the other scenarios. If they voted early and went to vote on Election Day, that would also show,’’ she added