Early voter turnout already exceeds figure for 2014

Supervisor of Elections Turner and staff working to encourage participation in Nov. 6 General Election

Image courtesy Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office

Between early voting and the return of vote-by-mail ballots, 35.29% of Sarasota County voters already had made their choices for the Nov. 6 General Election by early afternoon on Nov. 1, the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office reported.

In response to Sarasota News Leader questions for updates prior to publication this week, Rachel Denton, communications and voter outreach manager for the Supervisor of Elections Office, wrote in an email that the number of early voters shortly after noon on Nov. 1 was 42,938.

The number of returned and accepted vote-by-mail ballots stood at 69,426, she added.

At the end of the business day on Oct. 31, Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner had reported on Facebook that the number of early voters was 41,372, with 69,258 people having returned vote-by-mail ballots.

Turner and his staff have used social media extensively in encouraging people to participate in the Nov. 6 General Election.

On Oct. 29, he pointed out Facebook, the number of early voters was 32,542. He added that that “has already exceeded the ENTIRE [his emphasis] early voting for the 2014 General Election (30,983)!”

Overall turnout in the 2014 General Election was 58.93% in the county, Supervisor of Elections Office records say. The number of registered voters then was 277,321.

The total number of citizens registered to vote in the 2018 General Election in Sarasota County is 318,384, Turner has noted. That marks an increase of almost 15% from 2014.

Oct. 9 was the last day in the county to register for the upcoming election.

In the 2016 Presidential Election, voter turnout was 77.32%, records show. In the 2010 General Election, it was 56.10%.

Turner and his staff are reminding the public that early voting will continue through Saturday, Nov. 3. They also are encouraging people planning to vote by mail that they should send in their ballots — with their signatures — as soon as possible, to avoid any potential mail delays.

Early voting is available from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Supervisor of Elections Office located at 2001 Adams Lane in downtown Sarasota.
  • Supervisor of Elections Office located at 4000 Tamiami Trail S. in Venice.
  • Supervisor of Elections Office located at 13640 Tamiami Trail in North Port.
  • Fruitville Library, located at 100 Coburn Road in Sarasota.
  • North Sarasota Library, located at 2801 Newtown Blvd. in Sarasota.
  • Westfield Sarasota Square Mall, located at 8201 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.

Anyone concerned about having to wait may click a link on the homepage of the Supervisor of Elections Office website. That link will take the person to a map showing each of the six locations with wait times noted. Just before 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 1, green markers for each site indicated the wait would be no more than 10 minutes.

An interactive map on the Supervisor of Elections Office website allows visitors to check wait times at early voting locations. Image courtesy Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office

The Supervisor of Elections Office also is working to ensure citizens have the proper type of identification, as governed by state law, to cast ballots.

Each voter must present a current and valid photo and signature ID prior to voting. “A voter who appears at a polling location without photo and signature ID will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot,” a news release points out. Acceptable IDs are as follows: Florida driver’s license, Florida ID card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, a U.S. passport, a debit or credit card, a military ID, a student ID, a retirement center ID, a neighborhood association ID, apublic assistance ID, a veteran’s health ID issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a license to carry a concealed weapon pursuant to State Statute 790.06, and an employee ID issued by any branch, department or agency of the federal government, state, county or municipality.

“If your photo ID does not include your signature,” a news release says, “you will be asked to provide another ID that has your signature.”

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 6.

Voters who have questions may contact the Supervisor of Elections Office at 861-8619.