TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — Tuesday is the last day to register to vote in Florida. The state’s top election officials are considering possible solutions for voters who were hit by Hurricane Ian.
Mail-in ballots were distributed throughout the state the same day Hurricane Ian tore through southwest Florida.
Now, state election supervisors are calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue an executive order that would allow voting centers in counties hardest hit by the hurricane.
“One of the key asks of the governor is that we be allowed to use vote centers,” said Mark Earley, president of Florida Supervisors of Elections. “People have been dispersed throughout the county and having vote centers extend into Election Day lets people go to one of these vote centers and not have to vote in their neighborhood because those places aren’t there anymore.”
In a letter to the division of elections, Lee County Election Supervisor Tommy Doyle stated: “In Lee County, there remain few viable election day polling locations post-storm. Several established polling locations no longer exist.”
The early voting centers would allow voters in certain counties to cast a ballot at any voting center, not just their assigned precinct.
“The concept is simple and really the technology’s there. We just need the authorization to, to deploy that solution,” Earley said.
Despite this possibility, they expect a decline in voter turnout due to Hurricane Ian.
“Everyone’s concerned that the turnouts will drop off and frankly, there’s not much you can do about some of that. It’s likely that for many of the folks that are most heavily impacted the election is one of the last things on their mind,” Earley said.
The governor is expected to issue that executive order sometime this week. In the meantime, voters can check if they are registered by going to the state’s website or calling their local Supervisor of Elections Office.