published: Sunday, November 04, 2012
Early voting draws 15,000-plus
By BARRY FOSTER
SEBRING -- As of mid-morning Friday (the latest numbers available), activity at the early voting polls at the Highlands County Government Center in Sebring, the Avon Park city council chambers and the Lake Placid Town Hall has been brisk, with 14,917 residents turning out to cast their ballots and avoid what could be long lines on Tuesday.
Although polls have been open longer each day, the number of early voters won't have topped the more than 20,000 that turned out four years ago.
"Remember, we had 12 days in 2008 and only eight days this year," said outgoing Highlands County Supervisor of Elections Joe Campbell.
Friday numbers indicated there had been 7,474 Republicans, 5,314 Democrats and 2,129 in minor parties and those with no party affiliation.
Meanwhile, absentee ballots had increased only slightly from mid-week figures with 10,620 as of mid-morning Friday.
Eyes now turn to Tuesday, when the bulk of the local voters are expected to descend on the 25 different polling locations scattered throughout the county. Campbell has predicted a 70 percent turnout for this election cycle.
The current breakdown of the county's 62,076 voters shows 27,412 Republicans, 23,235 Democrats with the balance being listed as "others."
The phones at the office have been ringing with increasing frequency as Election Day draws near. However, as the big day approaches, Campbell again said there have been no major problems either with voting or with those electioneering for their favorite candidates. He again urged residents who have address changes or other issues to call his office or come in to make adjustments before they go to the polls to avoid having to cast a provisional ballot.
Campbell said his cadre of elections office staff and poll workers are ready for the Tuesday onslaught.
"We're running on adrenaline right now," he said
As in years past, Campbell has urged senior citizens and those who can wait to hold off coming to the polls at peak hours to make it easier for those on their way to work to cast their ballots.
"They probably will be able to avoid the crowds if they come in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon," he said.
Because there are a number of constitutional amendments on the ballot and merit retention issues cobbled together with races ranging from city council races to the President of the United States, Campbell has advised voters they may want to mark a sample ballot or bring their homework with them to make their voting experience go more quickly.
Some of the ballot processing also has gotten underway.
The canvassing board convened Friday to begin working on the thousands of absentee ballots that have been returned.
"We began opening and processing the absentees and running them through the system," Campbell said.
More than 8,000 absentees already have been returned with an average of 300 per day coming into the office.
"We expect that level to go on right through Election Day," he said.
Campbell said the canvassing board could easily continue working through the weekend and well into Tuesday to make certain all the absentees are processed and counted in time for the final election totals.
Joining Campbell on the board are Highlands County Commission Chairman Jack Richie and Highlands County Judge Anthony Ritenour.
"Some of the election staff has been helping us as well," Campbell said. "It is a tedious process and it has to be done right."
This will be Campbell's last election as supervisor. He has chosen to retire after a nearly 40-year career. Running to succeed him are Highlands County Deputy Supervisor of Elections Penny Ogg and Highlands County Administrative Services Director Gerald "Jed" Secory.
(by: Blindman - 11/6/2012)
If you don't know who to vote for, our country is better off that you don't vote your li you're likely to vote for the wrong person.
A Lot To Consider (by: Ryan Sharpe - 11/5/2012)
There is a lot to consider before you vote. Medicaid and Medicare are going bankrupt and the current administration has done nothing to fix them. If you are 65, by the time you hit, 70 don’t count on those benefits.
Go and vote... (by: foodforthought - 11/5/2012)
I haven't and I won't.
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