Hurricane Ian May Delay Vote-by-Mail Ballots in Central Florida

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Image via AP Photo/Scott Smith.

By Mivette Vega

October 7, 2022

Elections supervisors from the areas most affected by Hurricane Ian say that some polling locations may not be able to open for the election, but voters will still have the opportunity to cast their ballot.

Hurricane Ian hit Florida on Sept. 28, one day before the seven-day window for counties to send mail-in ballots to domestic voters. The period ended on Thursday, Oct. 6.

Some election supervisors in the area were able to get ballots to the post office before Hurricane Ian hit the state. However, others decided to wait for the bad weather to pass, without knowing the severity of the damages Ian would cause.

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According to The New York Times, election officials of the most impacted counties are still assessing the damages suffered by early voting sites and Election Day precincts.

The officials said they expected that many of the places would not be available for the election, but they are confident they would meet the deadline to send out mail-in ballots.

But even if the ballots get sent in the mail, delivering them is still a challenge for postal workers, because there are still flooded neighborhoods and hurricane debris blocking roads.

Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis advises voters that were impacted by the hurricane to reach out to their Supervisor of Elections office.

“If you don’t have a mail receptacle or if you’re out of your home right now, please contact your local post office where your mail would come through normally. They will hold it for you and you can pick it up there. If for any reason [vote-by-mail ballots] can’t be delivered and you don’t have it held, it will be returned to us because they are not forwarded,” Lewis told Click Orlando. 

On Monday, Tommy Doyle, supervisor of elections for Lee County, one of the most affected counties, said he anticipated that some regular polling locations will not be available for voters.

“We are collaborating with Lee County municipalities and the county government to assess damages and determine where temporary voting sites need to be established in Lee County,” Doyle wrote in a statement.

Despite the challenges, Doyle said that voters will be able to “safely, securely, and efficiently cast their ballots in the upcoming election.”

Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles announced in a video posted on social media that vote-by-mail ballots were going in the mail Wednesday night.

“Watch your mailboxes for your mail or check with your post office if you’ve got interruptions in your mail delivery,” Cowles said.

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The supervisor said that sample ballots are still being prepared for delivery and are expected to be mailed out by Oct. 14.

Election officials in different areas of Florida are reminding voters that there are multiple ways to cast a ballot in the 2022 midterm election.

Voters in Florida can still request a vote-by-mail ballot until Oct. 29, while early voting begins on Oct. 24.

https://theamericanonews.com/floricua/newsletter/

Author

  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.

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