With early voting going slowly so far, Supervisor of Elections Ida Elliott is predicting a low turnout for Tuesday’s primary election.
“If we have a 30 percent turnout for the whole election, I’ll be pleased,” she said, noting turnout in the primary four years ago was a lackluster 34.4 percent.
She said early voting has been very slow, with only 117 casting ballots in Apalachicola, and 98 in Carrabelle, as of Monday. Contrast this to 2010, when 529 early voting ballots were cast.
“They’re not hardly returning absentees hardly either,” said Elliott.
One change that may boost turnout is Elliott is installing room air conditioners, at her office’s expense, in Precinct 4 at the American Legion Hall, 801 W. US Hwy 98, Apalachicola, which had its air conditioning unit stolen earlier this year.
“We have to have air out there,” Elliott said. “We’re fixing to go through horrible hot weather.”
Early voting for Tuesday’s primary runs through this Saturday, Aug. 23. Election offices in Apalachicola and Carrabelle are open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays, and until 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Other than the race in District 2 (see related story), the biggest contest is for District 4 county commissioner, with incumbent Joseph “Smokey” Parrish, 52, 108 Long Rd. Apalachicola, facing a challenge from Royce S. Rolstad III, 31, 119 Hicks Lane, Apalachicola.
The two are squaring off in the Aug. 26 Democratic primary, winner take all. Because there are no declared Republican candidates, the primary is a universal one, meaning voters from either party, without a party or affiliated with a small party, are eligible to vote.
Elliott said in four of the county’s eight precincts, if an individual is not registered with either the Republican or Democratic parties, there will be nothing to vote on. Otherwise, there is something on every ballot in all eight precincts for Democrats or Republicans to vote on.
There are no non-partisan ballots (which encompass minor parties) in Precinct 1, at the Eastpoint Volunteer Fire Department, 24-6th Street; in Precinct 3, at the Florida National Guard Armory, 66 4th Street, Apalachicola; and in Precinct 7, at the St. George Island Methodist Church, 201 E Gulf Beach Drive, on the island.
In half of Precinct 5, at the Senior Citizens Center, 201 Ave. F, Carrabelle, there are no non-partisan ballots for those voters who are in District 5, which is represented by County Commissioner William Massey and School Board Member Pam Shiver. – By DAVID ADLERSTEIN